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3 1833 01086 2669 

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From a portrait sent to her mother in lyOr 


Carried to Canada 
During the Old French and Indian Wars 




In Preparation 



Copyright, 1897 
By C. Alice BAiiKK 

All rights reserved 


Press of E. A. Hall Sl Co. 





As often as I have read in the annals of the early settlers 
of New England the pathetic words, "Carried captive to Can- 
ada whence they came not back," 1 have longed to know the 
fate of the captives. The wish has become a purpose, and 
I have taken upon myself a mission to open the door for 
their return. 

It is just fifty years since that indefatigable Antiquary, 
Mr, Samuel G. Drake, published at Boston his "Tragedies of 
the Wilderness." I offer these narratives as a modest sequel 
to the work of my illustrious predecessor, c. a. b, 

Cambridge, Mass. 
March, 1897. 



Christine Otis. (A romance of real life on the frontier as 

told in the records.) ....... 5 

Esther Wheelwright. ....... 35 

Story of a York Family. . . . . ... 69 

Difficulties AND Dangers IN THE Settlement of a Fron- 
tier Town 1670. . . . . . . . 89 

Eunice Williams . . .128 

Ensign John Sheldon. ....... 155 

My Hunt for the Captives. ....... 193 

Two Captives. (A romance of real life two hundred years 

ago.) 223 

A Day at Oka. 250 

Thankful Stebbins. ........ 259 

A Scion of the Church in Deerfield. Joseph-Octave 
Plessis. (Written for the two hundredth anniversary 

of the founding of the church in Deerfield.) . . 272 

Hertel De Rouville. ....... 304 

Father Meriel — Mary Silver. ...... 319 


A Christinr Otis. ..... 333 

B Esther Wheelwright. .... 335 

C Eunice Williams. . . . . . 358 

D Ensign John Sheldon. .... 394 

E My Hunt for the Captives. . . 396 

F Thankful Stebbins 399 

INDEX 401 


Esther Wheelwright, Frontispiece. 

Mother Superior of the Ursulines at Quebec from a 

portrait sent to her mother in 1761. 
Facsimile of the Baptismal Record of DoROTHeE 

De Noyon. . ........ 52 

Ursurline Convent at Quebec as Completed in 1723, 

from a sketch made in 1842 by Rev. Mere Saint- 

Croix. ......... 60 

Wheelwright Coat of Arms, from a painting on silk 

done by Esther Wheelwright. ..... 66 

Mary Wheelwright, from a miniature sent to her daughter 

Esther in 1754. . 68 

The Junkins Garrison House Built in 1675, from a 

painting by Susan Minot Lane. ..... 72 

Fort Saint-Louis at Caughnawaga with Priest's House. 132 
Old Indian House at Deerfield. ..... 166 

Facsimile of the Marriage Record of Elizabeth Price, 

with signatures of several captives. .... 206 
Champlain's Trading Post at La Chine, later occupied 

by Robert Cavelier de La Salle. .... 252 

Homestead of Josiah Rising and Abigail Nims. . . 256 

Fort Pontchartrain at Chambly. .... 268 

Mgr. Joseph-Octave Plessis. ...... 272 




The magnificent obelisks of Central America lay crumbling 
to decay in the thickets of Yucatan. The mines of the Mound 
Builder were deserted and silent. The eagle screamed un- 
disturbed in the homes of the Cliff Dweller. 

A race who possessed no traditions of these old civilizations 
held the soil of North America, when, from Greenland poured 
down a horde of those Norse pirates, whose name from time 
immemorial had been a terror to every land. The story of 
the first meeting of the white man and the red man on our 
shores is an interesting one. Let us read it from the sagas 
of the Northmen. They will be apt to tell it flatteringly to 

In the year of our Lord 999, Leif the Lucky, son of Eric the 
Red, spent the winter in Vinland, — wherever that may be, — 
whether Nantucket, Narragansett, or Nova Scotia, we have 
as yet no ken. "Leif was a mickle man and stout, most 
noble to see ; a wise man, and moderate in all things." 

Apparently he had no encounter with the natives. Whether 


his mickleness, or his moderation and wisdom, had anything 
to do with this, the chronicler saith not. Now tliere was 
great talk about Leif s Vinland voyage, and Thorvald, his 
brother, thought the land had been too little explored. Then 
said Leif to Thorvald, "Thou shalt go with my ship, brother, 
if thou wilt to Vinland," 

So in 1 002, Thorvald and his men came to Vinland, to Leif's 
booths, and dwelt in peace there that winter. In the summer 
they sent the long boat along to the westward to explore. 
On the island they found a corn-shed of wood. More works 
of men they found not, and they went back to Leif's booths 
in the fall. "After that they coasted into the mouths of firths 

that were nearest to them and to a headland that 

stretched out, and they saw upon the sands within the head- 
land three heights. They went thither, and saw there three 
skin boats and three men under each. Then they divided 
the people, and laid hands on them all except one, that got 
off with his boat. They killed these eight, and then went 
back to the headland, and saw in the firth some heights, and 
thought they were dwellings. Then came from the firth in- 
numerable skin boats and made towards them." Thorvald 
said, "We will set up our battle shields, and guard ourselves 
as best we can, but fight but little. So they did, and the 
Skraelings shot at them for a while, but they fled, each as 
fast as he could." Thorvald was killed. 

Karlsefni came next, "And this agreement made he with 
his seamen : that they should have even handed all that they 

should get in the way of goods. They bore out to sea 

and came to Leif's booths hale and whole After the 

first winter came the summer, then they saw appear 

the Skraelings, and there came from out the wood a great 
number of men. At the roaring of Karlsefni's bulls the 
Skraelings were frightened and ran off with their bundles. 
These were furs and sable skins, and skin wares of all kinds. 


Karlsefni had the doors of the booths guarded. Then the 
Skraeling-s took down their bags, and opened them and of- 
fered them for sale, and wanted weapons for them. But 
Karlsefni forbade them to sell weapons. He took this plan : 
he bade the women bring out their dairy stuff, and no sooner 
had the}^ seen that, than they would have that atid nothing 
more. Now this was the way the Skraelings traded : they 
bore off their wares in their stomachs ; but Karlsefni and his 
companions had their bags and their skin wares, and so they 

parted Karlsefni then had posts driven strongly about 

his booths, and made all complete." 

"Next winter the Skraelings came again, and were more 
than before, and they had the same wares. Then Karl- 
sefni said to the w^omen, 'Now bring forth the same food that 
was most liked before, and no other.' And when they saw it, 
they cast their bundles in over the fence. But one of them 
being killed by one of Karlsefni's men, they all fled in haste, 
and left their garments and wares behind. ' Now,' said 
Karlsefni, ' I think they will come for the third time in anger, 
and with many men.' It was done as Karlsefni had said, 
there was a battle and many of the vSkraelings fell." 

The w^hole story of the dealings of the white man with the 
red man is here in a nutshell. Thorvald goes ashore with 
his company. "Here it is fair," he cries, "and here would I 
like to raise my dwelling," but seeing upon the sands three 
boats, and three men under each, "this iron-armed and stal- 
wart crew," — thirty broad-breasted Norsemen, lay hands upon 
the helpless nine and kill them. One escapes to tell the tale. 
A fight ensues, and Thorvald pays the penalty of his mis- 
deeds. The savage has felt the power of the white man's 
weapons. He covets them. He comes the next year to 
Karlsefni with sable skins and wants weapons in ex- 
change. Karlsefni wisely refuses. The women bring out 
the dairy stuff, and the simple savages trade. "They bear 


off their wares in their stomachs ! " But Karlsefni had 
their bags, and their precious skin wares. vSo they part. 
The booths are palisaded. Winter bring's the hungry savage 
once more to the white man's door. With reckless generos- 
ity he throws his bundles in over the palisade. vSupplied 
with food in return, he is going peacefully away, when, for 
mere pastime, he is felled to the earth— killed by one of 
Karlsefni's men. His followers flee. They come back. 
There is a battle and many of them fall. 

Here we might rest the case of the red man versus the 
white man. But the evidence is cumulative against the lat- 
ter. Columbus has left us an account of his reception by the 
"Indians," as he names them. Native and Spaniard were an 
equal surprise to each other. The savage thought that the 
ships of the strangers were huge birds, that had borne these 
wonderful beings down from heaven on their great, white 
wings. They were "friendly and gentle" to the new comers. 
Columbus gave them colored caps, beads and hawks bells, 
in exchange for twenty-pound balls of cotton yarn, great 
numbers of tame parrots and tapioca cakes. He coasted about 
the island in the ship's boat, and some of the natives swam 
after him, while others ran along on the shore, tempting him 
with fruits and fresh water to land. He speaks of them al- 
ways as decorous, temperate, peaceful, honest, generous and 
hospitable. "They are very simple and honest," he says, 
"and exceedingly liberal with all that they have, none of 
them refusing anything he may possess, when asked for it, 
but on the contrary inviting us to ask them. They exhibit 
great love towards all others in preference to themselves ; 
they also give objects of great value for trifles, and content 

themselves with little or nothing in return A sailor 

received for a leather strap as much gold as was worth three 
golden nobles,^ they bartered like idiots, cotton and 

'A noble is about $i.6o. 


gold, for fragments of bows, glasses, bottles and jars ; which 
I forbade, as being nnjust, and myself gave them many beau- 
tiful and acceptable articles, taking nothing from them 

in return They practice no kind of idolatry, but have 

a firm belief that all strength, and all power and all good 

things are in heaven, and that I had descended thence 

Nor are they slow or stupid, but of very clear understanding. 

I took some Indians by force from the first island 

I came to These men are still travelling with me, 

and they continue to entertain the idea that I have de- 
scended from heaven, and on our arrival at any new place 
they cry out to the other Indians, 'Come and look upon be- 
ings of a celestial race,' upon which men, women and children 

would come out in throngs to see us, — some bringing 

food, others drink, with astonishing affection and kindness." 

On every voyage Columbus carried back to Spain, men, 
women and children taken by force from their homes. Worse 
than that, he farmed out these poor children of the forest to 
the indolent Spanish colonists of Hayti, and they died by 
hundreds from ill treatment and overwork. Worst of all, to 
satisfy Spanish avarice, he sent great numbers of them to be 
sold as slaves in Spain for the benefit of that kingdom. 

In 1498, Sebastian Cabot carried to King Henry the Seventh 
three savages as trophies of his divScoveries in North America. 

France had her share of the spoils. In 1524, John Verra- 
zano, in his ship the Dolphin, reached the shore of Carolina. 
Fires were burning along the coast and the savages crowded 
to the beach making signs of welcome. The French were in 
want of water and tried to land, but the surf was too high. 
A sailor, carrying bells and other trifles, leaped overboard 
from the boat. His courage failed and he threw the trinkets 
towards the natives. The waves tossed him back upon the 
shore, and the Indians, snatching him from the sea, dragged 
him towards a ereat fire. The sailor shrieked with fear. His 


comrades in the boat gazed with horror, expecting to see him 
roasted and eaten before their eyes. But after tenderly 
warming and drying him they led him back to the shore, and 
stood aloof while he swam off to his friends. vShall I tell you 
how this kindness was repaid ? Coasting north, a party of 
them landed. The natives fled to the woods. Only two wom- 
en and half a dozen children remained, hiding terrified in the 
grass. These civilized Frenchmen carried off one of the ba- 
bies and would have taken the younger woman, who was 
handsome, but her outcries made them leave her behind. 
There is no clue to the fate of Verrazano ; it may be true, as 
Ramusio affirms, that on a later voyage he was killed and 
eaten by the savages. 

Ten years later, Jacques Cartier sailed into the mouth of 
the St. Lawrence and bore away for France to tell the King 
he had discovered the northwest passage to Cathay. He car- 
ried with him two young Indians "lured into his clutches," 
says Mr. Parkman, "by an act of villainous treachery." I 
suppose "the greasy potentate," whose sons they were, loved 
his boys as well as any father loves his children, but the wild 
Indian was no more than a wild turkey to the European ex- 
plorer, and both were constantly carried over as samples 
of the natural products of the New World. Cartier brought 
back the boys the next year to guide him up the river. He 
went up as far as Montreal, and coming back to Quebec 
his crew were smitten with scurvy. There he might easily 
have been cut off by the savages, but "they proved his salva- 
tion." He learned from them a cure for the distemper, and 
his crew were restored to health. "When the winter of mis- 
ery had worn away," he seized Donnacona and his chiefs, to 
carry them back to the French court. Mr. Parkman tells the 
story: "He lured them to the fort and led them into an am- 
buscade of sailors, who, seizing the astonished guests, hur- 
ried them on board the ship. This treachery accomplished, 


the voyagers proceeded to plant the emblem of Christianity. 
The cross was raised, the fleur-de-lis hung- upon it, and 
spreading their sails they steered for home." Cartier came 
back once more, and told the natives that their chief, Donna- 
cona, was dead, and the others were living like lords in 
France ; — which information must have been very gratifying 
to them, under the circumstances ! 

In 1602, Gosnold visited the Massachusetts coast. The In- 
dians traded with him valuable furs and "their fairest col- 
lars" of copper for the merest trifles. "We became great 
friends," says one of the party. "They helped cut and carry 

our sassafras, and some lay aboard our ship They 

are exceeding courteous and gentle of disposition," 

"quick-eyed, and steadfast in their looks, fearless of others' 
harms, as intending none themselves. Some of the meaner 
sort, given to filching, which the very name of savages, not 
weighing their ignorance in good or evil, may easily excuse." 

In 1605, Weymouth entered the Penobscot river. He gave 
the savages "brandy, which they tasted, but would not drink." 
He had two of them at supper in his cabin, and pres- 
ent at prayer time. "They behaved very civilly, neither 
laughing nor talking all the time, and at supper fed not like 
men of rude education ; neither would they eat or drink more 
than seemed to content nature." They carefully returned 
pewter dishes lent them to carry peas ashore to their women. 
As Weymouth "could not entice three others aboard," whom 
he wished to kidnap, he "consulted with his crew how to catch 
them ashore." Then they carried peas ashore, "which meat 
they loved" and a box of trifles for barter. "I opened the 
box," says an actor in this tragedy, "and showed them trifles 
to exchange, thinking thereby to have banished fear from 
the other and drawn him to return. But when we could not, 
we used little delay, but suddenly laid hands on them, and 
it was as much as five or six of us could do to get them into 


the light gig, for they were strong-, and so naked as by far 
our best hold was by the long hair on their heads ; and we 
would have been very loath to have done them any hurt, 
which of necessity we had been constrained to have done if 
we had attempted them in a multitude, which we must and 
would, rather than have wanted them, being a matter of great 
importance for the full accomplishment of our voyage." The 
chronicler after praising the country, thus concludes his re- 
lation : "Although at the time we surprised them they made 

their best resistance, yet, after perceiving by their 

kind usage we intended them no harm, they have never since 
seemed discontented with us, but very tractable, loving, and 
willing by their best means, to satisfy us in anything we de- 
mand of them Neither have they at any time been 

at the least discord among themselves, insomuch as we have 
not seen them angry, but merry and so kind, as, if you give 
anything to one of them, he will distribute part to every one 
of the rest." 

Mr. Higginson tells us that Weymouth's Indians were the 
objects of great wonder in England, and crowds of people 
followed them in the streets. It is thought that Shakespeare 
referred to them in "The Tempest" a few years later. Trin- 
culo there wishing to take the monster Caliban to Eng- 
land, says: "Not a holiday fool there but would give a piece 

of silver When they will not give a doit to relieve a 

lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian." 

John Smith's disasters in Virginia were due to the disor- 
derly conduct of his men towards the natives. 

It is true that an Indian arrow was "shot into the throat" 
of one of Hudson's crew, but the chronicler who tells the tale, 
says they found "loving people" on their first landing ; and 
the disgraceful debauch in the cabin of the "Half Moon," does 
not speak well for the conduct of the Dutch on that occasion. 

John Smith narrates how Captain Hunt "betrayed" twenty 



savages from Plymouth, and seven from Cape Cod "aboard 
his ship, and most dishonestly and inhumanly, for the kind 
usage of me, and all my men, carried them with him to Ma- 
ligo (Malaga) and there, for a little private gain, sold these 
silly savages for rials of eight." An old woman of ninety af- 
terward told Edward Winslow, with tears and groans, that 
her three sons, her only dependence, were among the number. 

The un scrupulousness of Morton's followers at Merrymount, 
who cheated, abused, and stole from the Indians, and sold them 
liquor and weapons, came near being the destruction of the 

It is an unwelcome task, while commemorating our ances- 
try who suffered death or a cruel captivity at the hands of 
the savage, to say a word in extenuation. I am no hero-wor- 
shipper. I find more shrewdness than saintliness in Massa- 
soit's friendship. It was for him a choice of evils. I see 
nothing of statesmanship or valor to admire in Philip. No 
more do I think there is any basis for a wholesale denuncia- 
tion of his race. We have seen how from Maine to Cuba the 
explorer was the aggressor. In later colonial times it was a 
poor schooling we gave the red man, and he did credit to 
our teaching. We know little of the savage before his con- 
tamination by the white man. Revenge belongs to the child- 
hood of nations as well as to that of individuals. To love our 
enemies, — to do good to them that despitefully use us, is a 
hard feat even for an adult Christian civilization. If, as John 
Robinson wished, we had converted some before we had killed 
any, we should make a better show in history. That w^as a 
grim satire of old Ninigret, who told Mr. Mayhew, when 
he wanted to preach to his people, that he "had better go and 
make the English good first." We should not shrink from 
tracing effects to their causes. The Indian trader from Karl- 
sefni to Richard Waldron, (I may say to the frontier agent of 
to-day,) was dishonest. He sold rum to the savage, and then 


fined him for getting drunk. Was it truth the Indian ut- 
tered, or a bitter jest on the diluted quality of the liquor, when 
he testified before the court that he "had paid ;^ioo for a 
drink from Mr. Purchas his well ? " The fine was not always 
crossed out when it was paid till the exasperated savage 
crossed it out with one blow of his hatchet, for which he had 
paid ten times its worth in furs. The Government was not 
always responsible, though the "Walking Purchase" and the 
murder of Miantonomoh are rank offences. Usually the 
frontier settlement suffered for the sins of individuals. There 
is no more striking illustration of this fact than the story of 


In 1623 some London fishmongers set up their stages on the 
Piscataqua river. 

Passaconawa5^ the sagacious sachem of the Penna cooks, 
desirous of an ally against his troublesome neighbors, the 
Tarratines, urged more English to come. He gave them 
deeds of land in exchange for coats, shirts and kettles. The 
natives continued peaceable, — the whites fished, planted and 
traded unmolested. Feeling death approaching, old Passa- 
conaway made a great feast, and thus addressed his chieftains : 
"Listen to your father. The white men are the sons of the 
morning. The Great Spirit is their father. Never war with 
them. If you light the fires His breath will turn the flames 
upon you and destroy you." Knowles, a tributary chief, 
whose tribe occupied the region round about the settlers on 
the Piscataqua, felt similar presentiments. Sending for the 
principal white men, he asked them to mark out and record 
in their books a grant of a few hundred acres for his people. 
The old sachem's son Wannaloncet, and Blind Will, succes- 
sor to Knowles, determined to heed Passaconaway's advice, 
and keep peace with the whites, and the Pennacooks remained 


neutral through Philip's war. At that time Cocheco, now 
Dover, New Hampshire, was the main trading post with the 
Indians of all that region. Major Richard Waldron was the 
most prominent man of Cocheco. He held many offices of 
trust under the Government, and a command in Philip's war. 
He was naturally severe ; was a successful Indian trader, and 
had the reputation of being a dishonest one. It was said that 
he did not cancel their accounts when they had paid him, and 
that in buying beaver he reckoned his fist as weighing a 
pound. Though Philip's war began later in the Eastern 
country, it raged there with terrible ferocity, "where," says 
Mr. Palfrey, "from the rough character of the English set- 
tlers, it may well be believed that the natives were not with- 
out provocation." Troops were ordered out by the General 
Court of Massachusetts to subdue the eastern Indians, but 
the snow lay four feet on a level in December, and military 
operations were impossible. The Indians, pinched with fam- 
ine from the severity of the winter, and dependent upon the 
frontier settlements for food, sued for peace through Major 
Waldron, promising to give up their captives without ransom, 
and to be quiet in the future. In July, 1676, Waldron, on be- 
half of the whites, signed a treaty with them at Cocheco. 
After Philip's death some of his followers fled to the Penna- 
cooks. They were taken and put in Dover jail. Escaping, 
they incited some of the Maine Indians to renew their dep- 
redations. Two companies were sent to the East under Cap- 
tains Sill and Hathorne. They reached Dover on the 6th of 
September. There they found four hundred Indians, part 
of them Pennacooks who had taken no part in the war ; others 
who had been party to the treaty a few months before, and 
the rest, southern Indians, who, fleeing to the eastward after 
Philip's death, had been received into the tribes there. Why 
they were at Dover we are not told, but evidently with no 
hostile intent, as their women and children were with them. 


The belligerent captains would have annihilated them at 
once, as their orders were to seize all Indians concerned in 
the murder of Englishmen, or who had violated the treaty. 
Waldron proposed a stratagem instead. Inviting the Indians 
to a sham fight the next day, having drawn the Indians' fire, 
the English soldiers surrounded and disarmed them. Wan- 
naloncet and the Pennacooks were set free. The rest were 
sent to Boston, where seven or eight of the well-known mur- 
derers were hung, and the rest sold as slaves abroad. It is 
said that Major Waldron was opposed to the seizure, but re- 
garded it as a military necessity. It is true that he might 
have been censured by his government if he had refused to 
obey its orders, but a strictly honorable man would rather 
have left his case to the judgment of posterity, or have thrown 
up his commission, than to have committed so gross a breach 
of hospitality and faith. The Pennacooks looked upon his 
conduct as treachery. It was a time of peace. They had 
never broken faith with him. They were, as it were, surety 
for the good behavior of Philip's Indians and the rest. They 
never forgave him. 

Thirteen years passed. Some of those who had been sold 
into slavery came back. The emissaries of Castine whispered 
vengeance. The opportunity for retaliation came to the Pen- 
nacooks, and a plot was laid for the destruction of Dover. 
In June, 1689, the Dover people began to be suspicious that 
the Indians were unfriendly. Larger numbers seemed to be 
gathering in the neighborhood than usually came to trade. 
Strange faces were noticed among them, and now and then 
they were seen eyeing the defenses. More than one friendly 
squaw hinted of danger to the settlers' wives who had been 
kind to them, but they were not heeded. "Go plant your 
pumpkins," cried Waldron to those who told him their fears, 
"I know the red skins better than you, and I will let you 
know soon enough if there are any signs of an outbreak." 


Waldron, Richard Otis, John Heard, Peter Coffin and his 
son Tristram had each a garrison house at Dover at that 
time. Into these their neighbors who felt uneasy, retired to 
sleep. On the morning of the 27th of June, a young man 
rushed to Waldron's house and told him that the town was 
full of Indians, and that the people were thoroughly fright- 
ened. "I know the Indians well," replied Waldron with some 
asperity, "and I tell you there is no danger." That very 
morning, however, the following letter from Major Hench- 
man of Chelmsford was received by Gov. Bradstreet at Bos- 
ton : 

June 23, £689. 

Honored Sir : — This day two Indians came from Pennacook, viz., 
Job Maramasquand and Peter Muckamug, who report that damage 
will undoubtedly be done within a few days at Piscataqua, and that 
Major Waldron in particular is threatened. The Indians can give 
a more particular account to your Honor. They say if damage be 
done, the blame shall not be on them, having given a faithful ac- 
count of what they hear, and are upon that report moved to leave 
their habitation and cover at Pennacook. I am constrained from a 
sense of my duty, and from love to my countrymen, to give the in- 
formation as above, so with my humble service to your Honor, and 
prayers for the safety of an endangered people, 

I am your humble serv't, 

Thos. Henchman. 

A messenger was at once dispatched to Cocheco with a let- 
ter from the Governor and Council " To Major Richard Wal- 
dron, and Mr. Peter Coffin, or either of them. These with 
all possible speed." 

The Governor's letter is dated June 27th, 1689. It informs 
Major Waldron of the receipt of Major Henchman's letter 
and tells him that "one Hawkins is the principal designer" 
of the intended mischief. That it is particularly designed 
against Waldron and Coffin, and that they are to be betrayed 


"on a pretention of trade." The Governor warns them to 
take "care of their own safeguard "and to report "what in- 
formation they may receive of the Indians' motions." Un- 
fortunately the messenger was detained at vSalisbury ferry 
and reached Dover only after the tragedy was over. 

Mesandowit\ an Indian chief, took supper at Waldron's 
house that night, as he had often before. During supper he 
said, half jestingly, " Suppose strange Indians come now, 
Brother Waldron ? " "I have but to raise my finger," replied 
Waldron, boastfully, " and a hundred soldiers will be at my 
command." Later in the evening two squaws applied at each 
garrison house for leave to sleep on the hearth before the 
kitchen fire. As this was no unusual request, it was readily 
granted, and they were shown how to open the doors in case 
they might want to go out during the night. Tristram Cof- 
fin alone refused to admit them. As Waldron was barring 
his doors for the night, one of the squaws quartered with 
him said to him, " White father big wampum ; much Indian 
come." Still unsuspicious, he retired to dream of the mor- 
row's gains. 

Just before dawn, at that hour when night is darkest and 
sleep is heaviest, the treacherous squaws rose softly in all the 
houses, and opening the doors, gave a long, low whistle. A 
dog at Heard's garrison answered with a furious barking, 
which awoke Elder Wentworth. He hurried down stairs. 
The savages were just entering. Pushing the oaken door 
back against them, the old man of seventy-three threw him- 
self on his back and held it against them till help came. Bul- 
lets crashed through the door above his head, but the heroic 
old Puritan did not flinch and the garrison was saved. Plac- 
ing a guard at Waldron's door, the waspish horde swarmed 
into his room. He sprang from his bed, and though over 
eighty years old, he drove them at the point of his sword, 

'Sometimes written Mesambowit. 


throug-h three or four rooms. As lie turned back for other 
weapons, they followed him and dealt him a blow with a 
hatchet, which stunned and prostrated him. With horrid 
threats, they ordered his family to get supper for them. 
When they were .surfeited, they placed the old man in his 
arm-chair on the table and tortured him. They gashed him 
with their knives, screaming derisively, "Now we cross out 
our accounts." They cut off his finger joints and threw them 
in his face, asking with fiendish glee, "How much will your 
fist weigh now. Father Waldron ? " Finally as he fell faint- 
ing from his chair, they held his own sword under him, and 
death came to his relief. His daughter and his little o-rand- 
child, Sarah Gerrish,^ were taken captive, his son-in-law killed, 
his house pillaged and burned. The houses of Peter Coffin 
and his son were also destroyed. 

Richard Otis, the blacksmith of Dover, occupied the next 
garrison house to Waldron's. He was of good family, and 
had removed from Boston to Dover in 1656. At the time of 
the attack he was well on in years, had married sons, and 
was living with his third wife, GrizeP Warren, a young wom- 
an of less than half his years. She had borne him two chil- 
dren. Hannah, the elder, was about two ; but the delight of 
her old father's heart, was his three months old baby, Marga- 
ret, fair as a summer daisy. Otis was shot dead as he was 
rising up in bed, or had reached the window, seeking the 
cause of the alarm. The savages killed his little daughter 
Hannah, by dashing her head against the chamber stairs. His 
wife and baby were dragged from their beds, and with more of 
his family, hurried with the other captives to the woods to 
begin the doleful march to Canada. 

Meantime, all unconscious of these horrors, the Widow 
Heard and her sons, with her daughter and son-in-law, were 

'For the story of her captivity see Drake's "Tragedies of the Wilderness." 
■I have often found the name written Grizet and Grizit. 


returning from a day's trading at Portsmouth. The soft air 
of the summer night was heavy with the scent of the sweet 
brier ; the frog croaked hoarsely from his solitary pool ; an 
owl, scared from his hunting, flitted screeching to the woods. 
No other sound was heard save the plash of their oars as they 
rowed up the placid river, when suddenly on the midnight 
stillness, burst forth the awful war-whoop. Faster they plied 
their oars, not daring to think of the possible fate of kindred 
left safe in the garrison at morn. Silently passing a body of 
the enemy, they landed near Waldron's garrison. Seeing a 
light in a chamber window and supposing it put there as a 
signal of refuge to the English, they demanded entrance at 
the gate. No answer being returned, they shook and pound- 
ed the palisades, in agonized tones reproaching their friends 
within for not opening to them. At last one of the young 
men looked through a crack of the gate, and saw to his hor- 
ror an Indian with his gun guarding Waldron's door. De- 
spair seized them at the sight. Mrs. Heard sank fainting, 
and declaring she could go no further, ordered her children 
to leave her. After much entreaty, feeling that all would be 
sacrificed if they remained, they left her and proceeded to 
their own garrison. On the way they met one of Otis's sons, 
who told them that his father was killed. John Ham and 
his wife, Mrs. Heard's daughter, rowed rapidly down the 
river again, to give the alarm at Portsmouth. Meantime 
Mrs. Heard had revived a little, and dragged herself to the 
garden, hiding there among the barberry bushes. With the 
approach of daylight, she fled to a thicket at some distance 
from the house. A savage who had watched her, came twice 
to her hiding place, pointed his pistol at her and ran back 
with loud yells to the house, leaving her in safety. She rec- 
ognized him as a young Indian, whom at the time of the seiz- 
ure by Waldron, she had hidden in her own house and aided 
to escape. Thanking God for her preservation, she remained 


in her covert, till the enemy had retired with their captives. 
Then stealing along by the river, she crossed it on a boom, 
and reaching Gerrish's garrison, learned of the brave defence 
of her own house by Elder Wentworth, and of the safety of 
its inmates. 

At eight o'clock in the morning, John Ham and his wife, 
spent with fatigue and anxiety, reached Portsmouth. A let- 
ter was at once written by Richard Waldron, Jr., still igno- 
rant of his father's fate, to the Governor and Council in Bos- 
ton, giving the facts so far as related by Ham. This letter 
was enclosed in the following : 

" To the Hon. MaJ. Robert Pike of Salisbury — Haste post Haste : — 

Portsmouth, 28th June, 1689. 
Honored Sir : — We herewith send you an account of the Indians 
surprising Cocheco this morning which we pray you immediately to 
post away to the Honorable, the Governor and Council at Bos- 
ton, and forward our present assistance, wherein the whole country 
is immediately concerned. 

We are Sir your most humble servants, 

Richard Martvn. 
William Vaughn. 
Richard Waldron, Jr. 
Samuel Wentworth. 
Benj. Hull. 

This dispatch was received at noon by Maj. Pike, who im- 
mediately forwarded it to Boston with the following : 

''''To the much Ho7iored Syman Bradstreet, Esq., Governor, and the 
Honorable Council now sitting at Boston, these present ivith all 
speed — Haste, post Haste" : — 

Salisbury, 28th June, (about noon) 1689. 
Much Honored : — -After due respect, these are only to give your 
honours the sad accounts of the last night's providence at Cocheco, 


as by the enclosed, the particulars whereof are awful. The only- 
wise God, who is the keeper that neither slumbereth nor sleepeth is 
pleased to permit what is done. Possibly it may be either better or 
worse than this account renders it. As soon as I get more intelli- 
gence, I shall, God willing, speed it to your honours, praying for 
speedy order or advice in so solemn a case. I have dispatched the 
intelligence to other towns with advice to look to yurselves. 1 shall 
not be wanting to serve in what I may. Should have waited on your 
honours now, had I been well. Shall not now come except by you 
commanded, till this bustle be abated. That the only wise God 
may direct all your weighty affairs, is the prayer of your honours' 

most humble servant, 

Robert Pike." 

The post went spurring into Boston at midnight with Pike's 
dispatches, and the next noon an answer was returned to 
Portsmouth as follows: 

'■'To Messrs. Richard Marty?i, William Vaughan, Richard IValdron, 

Boston, 29th June, 1689. 

Gentlemen: — The sad account given by yurselves of the awful hand 
of God in permitting the heathen to make such desolations upon Co- 

checo and destruction of the inhabitants thereof arrived the 

last night about twelve o'clock. Notice thereof was immediately 
despatched to our out towns, and so they may provide for their se- 
curity The narrative you give was laid before the 

whole Convention this morning, who are concerned for you as friends 
and neighbors, and look at the whole to be involved in this unhappy 
conjuncture and trouble given by the heathen and are very ready to 
yield you all assistance as they may be capable and do think it nec- 
essary that (if it be not done already) you shall fall into some form 

for the exercise of government so far as may be necessary 

for your safety this Convention not thinking to meet under 

their present circumstances to exert any authority within your Prov- 
ince. Praying God to direct in all the arduous affairs the poor peo- 
ple of this country have at present to engage in, and to rebuke all 


our enemies desireing you would give us advice from time to time 
of the occurences witli you. 

Your liumble servant, 

Isaac Addington, Sec'y. 
Per order of Convention." 

Aid was at once sent to Cocheco, and the progress of events 
there may be seen from the following letter, dated 

"Capt. Gerrish's Garrison House, ) 
Cocheco, 5tli July, 1689. [ 

May it please your Honors : — On Wednesday evening Major Apple- 
ton with between forty and fifty men (most of Ipswich) arrived here 
accompanied by Major Pike, and yesterday morning with wt addi- 
tional force we could make, marcht into the woods upon track of 
the enemy abt twelve miles to make what Discovery they could, but 
returned in ye evening without any further discovery save ye dead 
body of one of the captive men, they carried hence nor since at last 

has any of the enemy been seen hereabout Doubtless the 

main body are withdrawn to a considerable distance. 
Your most humble servants, 

William Vaughan. 
Richard Waldron." 

While these things were transpiring, the hellish crew and 
their hapless prisoners were marching towards Canada. On 
the morning of the attack, a party of Cocheco men started out 
in pursuit, but, as usual, the enemy had divided their forces. 
The Cocheco party overtook some of them near Conway, and 
succeeded in recovering some, among them three of Otis's 
daughters. When the rest of the family reached Canada, we 
do not know. On their arrival, baby Margaret was at once 
taken from her savage captors by the priests, baptized anew, 
and under the name of Christine, given to the nuns of Mont- 
real to be reared in the faith of the Romish church. When 
she was four years old, her mother was baptized into that 
church, with the name of Mary Madeleine, and the next Oc- 
tober, married Mr. Philip Robitaille, "a French gentleman of 


Montreal in the service of Monsieur Maricom." It is prob- 
able that the little girl spent most of her childhood with the 
good nuns of Montreal, in the very heart of that religious 
community founded by Maisonneuve and his followers. She 
would have been fifteen years old when the Deerfield captives 
were carried to Montreal. As in her coarse serge gown, she 
passed with the nuns in and out of the old cathedral, good 
Mr. Williams may have seen her, and groaned in spirit at 
the sight. vShe must have been a girl of strong character, 
for she absolutely refused to take the veil, though persistent- 
ly urged to it by priest and nun. As the next safest thing 
for the interests of the church, they married her at sixteen to 
a Frenchman of Montreal, named Le Beau. The following, 
translated from the parish records of Montreal, bears the au- 
tographs of the newly wedded pair, and of the bride's friend, 
Marie Joseph Sayer^ : 

"On the 14th day of June, of the year 1707, after publishing one 
ban, and dispensing with the other two by permission from M. 
Francois Vachon de Belmont, Grand Vicar of Monseigneur, the 
Bishop of Quebec, I, the undersigned priest, officiating as curate of 
the parish of Ville-Marie, having obtained the mutual consent of 
Louis Le Bau, aged twenty-nine years, son of Jean Le Bau and 
Etiennette Lore, inhabitants of the parish of Boucherville in this 
Diocese, of the one part, and of Christinne Otesse, aged eighteen 
years, daughter of the defunct Richard hautesse^ and Marie Made- 
leine la garenne^ of the town of Douvres*, in old England, now liv- 
ing in this parish, of the other part, — having married them accord- 
ing to the rites of our Holy Mother Church, in presence of the said 
Jean Bau, father of the bridegroom, of the Sieur Dominiqua Thau- 
mur Surgeon, of Philippe Robitail Master cooper, father-in-law of 
the said bride. The aforesaid Jean Bau and Robitail have declared 
that they could not sign this certificate according to the ordinance." 

Christine's husband may have entertained her with the story 

'See "Story of a York Family." -Otis. ■'Warren. ^Dover. 


of Thomas Baker, an English youth, one of the Deerfield cap- 
tives, who had tried to run away from Montreal that summer, 
and having been caught by the Indians, would have been 
burned at the stake, had he not escaped from his tormentors, 
and fled to the house of a Frenchman, who ransomed him. 

The Governor had ordered him put in irons and closely 
imprisoned for four months, "and served him right," Le Beau 
may have said. "■Paiivre garcon,'' perhaps Christine sighed, 
for the story of Baker's adventures may have set her thinking 
of her own captivity, and she may have wished that she could 
go back to New England once more, and see the spot where 
she was born. These longings were probably dispelled, and 
Christine reconciled to her lot, by the births of her own three 
children. We hear no more of her until the arrival of Ma- 
jor Stoddard at Montreal. 

Mr. vSheldon had returned in 1707, from his last expedition 
for the redemption of the captives, but many more English 
were still held in Canada, among them Eunice Williams, the 
eldest daughter of the minister of Deerfield. Accordingly 
in November, 1713, commissioners were again sent by Gov. 
Dudley to Canada to negotiate the redemption of Eunice and 
the other New England captives. At the head of the com- 
mission, was Captain John Stoddard of Northampton, son of 
the minister of that place. Mr. Williams accompanied him. 
Martin Kellogg, one of the Deerfield captives, who had finally 
escaped with Baker from Montreal, went as interpreter. 
There were three other attendants, of whom one was Baker 
himself. Both Kellogg and he had become noted characters 
since their flight from Montreal. He was Captain Thomas 
Baker now. The year before he had gone up the Connecti- 
cut river with a scouting party, crossed over to the Pemige- 
wasset, and at its confluence with one of its tributaries — since 
called Baker's river, — he had killed the famous sachem, Wat- 
tanummon, without the loss of a man. Taking as much of 


the Sachem's beaver as the party could carry, he burned the 
rest and went down the Merrimac to Dunstable, and thence 
to Boston, The Council Records of the 8th of May, give 
his report of his proceedings and his application for scalp 
money. He produced but one scalp but prayed " for a further 
allowance for more killed than they could recover their scalps 
as reported by the enemy themselves." After some delay 
the General Court, willing to encourage and reward such 
braver}' and enterprise as Baker had shown, allowed him and 
his company twenty pounds, " for one enemy Indian besides 
that which they scalped, which seems very probable to be 
slain." On the i6th of February, 17 14, the commissioners 
reached Quebec. We have the record of their negotiations 
with the governor of Canada. De Vaudreuil assures them 
that all the captives are at liberty to go home ; the more, the 
better, for him and his country ; and his blessing shall go 
with them. He gives the ambassadors permission to mingle 
unrestrained with the English, and to have free speech with 
those in religious houses. Learning that the priests and 
some of the laity are terrifying and threatening the prisoners 
against returning, the commissioners complain to the Gover- 
nor, who replies that he " can as easily alter the course of the 
waters as prevent the priests' endeavors." Finally, under the 
pretext that the captives have been naturalized by the King, 
he refuses to let any return except those under age. Dis- 
couraged by this unexpected obstacle, and in order to be 
nearer the captives, the Commissioners return to Montreal, 
arriving there on the 3rd of March, 17 14. 

Christine's husband had died a few months before. The 
young widow had doubtless heard of the presence of the 
ambassadors in the city, as they passed through to Quebec, 
and all her old longing for release returned upon her. 
While the naturalization question is pending, Mr. Williams, 
whose heart is occupied with Eunice's affairs, demands that 


" men and women shall not be entangled by the marriages 
they may have contracted, nor parents by children born to 
them in captivity." Christine sees here her chance. We may 
assume that she seeks an interview with the commissioners 
and tells them her wishes. Brave Captain Baker, a bachelor 
of thirty-two, is smitten with the charms of the youthful 
widow. He undertakes her cause. The Governor cunningly 
concedes that French women may return with their English 
husbands, — that English women shall not be compelled to 
stay by their French husbands, — but about the children he 
" will take time to consider." Christine now reciprocating 
the passion of her lover becomes doubly anxious to return. 
The Intendant and the Governor violently oppose her. By 
order of the former, the property of her deceased husband 
is sold, and the money is withheld from her. The priests 
bring their authority to bear upon her. '' If you persist in 
going," they say, " you shall not have your children ; they 
must be nurtured in the bosom of the Holy church." Her 
mother by turns coaxes, chides and tries to frighten her from 
her resolution. " What can you do in New England? " she 
says to her. " There are no bake shops there. You know 
nothing about making bread or butter, or managing as they 
do there." All this Christine confides to her lover, who kisses 
away her tears and calms her fears. If she will but trust to 
him, and go with him, he tells her, his mother shall teach 
her all she need to know, and his government will see to it 
that her children are restored to her. In the midst of his 
wooing, Captain Baker is sent back to Boston by Stoddard to 
report progress, and demand instructions. He was too good 
a soldier not to obey orders, though he would, doubtless, have 
preferred to make a short cut through the difficulties, by 
running off the prisoners and taking the risk of re-capture. 
In his absence Christine secretly conveys her personal effects 
on board a barque bound for Quebec, intending to follow, 


and put herself under the proteetion of Stoddard and his 
party who have returned thither and are trying- to colleet the 
captives there. The Intendant orders Christine's goods 
ashore, and forbids her to leave Montreal. In vain the Com- 
missioners protest. " She is a prisoner of the former war," 
replies the Intendant, " and cannot be claimed by the English 
under the present Articles of Peace." But " Love laughs at 
locksmiths," and when Captain Baker returns from his 
embassy and tells her that the good brigantine Leopard is 
probably then lying at Quebec, and that she must go with 
him, now or never, she does not hesitate. We have no record 
of her flitting, except the pithy sentence in Stoddard's Journal 
announcing Capt. Baker's return from New England, "bring- 
ing with him one English prisoner from Montreal." We 
cannot doubt that this one is Christine. 

The anger of the Intendant, when he learned of her diso- 
bedience and escape, may be better imagined than described. 
De Vaudreuil used his most politic endeavors to get posses- 
sion of her again, promising if she might be returned to 
Montreal, he would send her under escort by land to New 
England. Stoddard knowing the value of " A bird in the 
hand," refused to give her up. The Governor finally threat- 
ened if she went, to give her children to the Ursuline sisters 
and never let her see them again. But her lover triumphed, 
and she embarked with him for Boston, where they arrived 
on the 2 1 St of September, 17 14. 

On the Brookfield land records, Dec. 9th, of the same year, 
there is a grant of '• upland and meadow " to " Margarett 
Otice, alias Le Bue, one that was a prisoner in Canada and 
lately came from thence, provided she returns not to live in 
Canada, but tarries in this province and marries to Captain 
Thomas Baker." Christine tarried and married. The ad- 
vent of Captain Baker, with hjs foreign wife and her strange 
speech, and her Romish observances, must have made quite 


a sensation among the straight-laced Puritans of Northamp- 
ton. Good Parson vStoddard took her at once in hand, how- 
ever, and she became a Protestant, being rebaptized by him 
with her original name of Margaret. The birth of her first 
child by Thomas Baker, stands to-day on the Northampton 
records as follows : "June 5, 17 16, Christine Baker, daughter to 
Thomas and Margaret." 

About 1 71 7, Christine removed with her husband to Brook- 
field, Mass. Shortly afterwards her half brother, Philip 
Robitaille, came from Montreal to visit her and worked a year 
on her farm. It was probably when he returned to Canada, 
that she undertook a journey thither, in the hope of getting 
possession of her children, but the Governor had kept his 
word, and she was deprived of them forever. In 1719, Cap- 
tain Baker was the first Representative to the General Court 
from Brookfield. In 1727, he was tried at Springfield for 
blasphemy, on the following charge: " There being a dis- 
course of God's having in His providence put in Joseph Jen- 
nings, Esq., of Brookfield, a Justice of the peace," Captain 
Baker said, ' If I had been with the Almighty, I would have 
taught Him better.' The verdict of the jury was " Not 
guilty." The same year Christine received a long and ear- 
nest letter from Monsieur Seguenot, the Seminary priest, who 
had been her former confessor at Montreal, urging her to re- 
turn to Canada and to the Romish church. The letter being 
of course in French, and " written in a crabbed and scarcely 
legible hand," her husband advised her " to have it copied in 
order to get some person to answer it," in order to convince 
the priest of the folly of any further attempts to convert her. 
The letter came to the notice of an influential lady of Boston, 
who showed it to Governor Burnet and urged him to answer 
it for Christine, which he did. 

"My dear Christine," the priest begins, "whom I may call my 
spiritual daughter, since I esteemed and directed you as such 


whilst you had the happiness of making one of the family of 

Jesus, Maria, Joseph, Joachim and Anne, and that you, as well 

as Madame Robitail your mother, (whose confessor I have become, 

) were of the Number of about Two Hundred Women of the best 

fashion of Ville Marie, who then made up the mystical Bcxly of that 
holy Association. I own also that all our Members of the .Seminary, as 
well as all Mount Real, were edified with your Carriage, you being so- 
ber,and living as a true Christian and good Catholic having no remains 
of the unhappy Leaven of the irreligion and errors of the English out 
of which M. Meriel had brought you as well as your Mother, taking 
you out of the deep darkness of Heresy to bring you into the Light 

of the only true Church and the only Spouse of Jesus Christ." 

"The Catholic Church is the only mystical Ark of Noah in which 
Salvation is found. All those who are gone out of it, and will not 
return to it, will unhappily perish, not in a deluge of Waters, but in 
the Eternal Flames of the last Judgment Who has so far be- 
witched and blinded you as to make you leave the Light and Truth, 
to carry you amongst the English where there is nothing but Darkness 
and Irreligion?" The priest goes on to appeal to her conscience, 
and to her love for her children in Canada, as incentives to her re- 
turn. " Dear Christine," he says, " poor stray Sheep, come back to 
your Heavenly Father," own yourself guilty to have for- 
saken the Lord, the only Spring of the healing Waters of Grace, to run 

after private Cisterns which cannot give them to you hearken 

to the stings of your Conscience Read the two Letters I send 

you concerning the happy and Christian Death of your Daughter; 

weigh with care the particular Circumstances by which she owns 
herself infinitely indebted to the Mercy of God, and the watchful- 
ness of her Grandmother for having withstood her Voyage to New 
England, and not suffered her to follow you thither. Consider with 
what inward peace she received all her Sacraments and with what 
tranquility she Died in the Bosom of the Church. I had been her 
Confessor for many Years before her Marriage, and going to Quebec 
where she lived with her Husband peaceably and to the Edification 
of all the Town. Oh! happy Death! my dear Christine, would you 
Die like her as predestinated; come in all haste, and abjure your Apos- 


tasy and live as a true Christian and Catholick else fear and be per- 
swaded that your Death will be unhappy and attended with madness 

and despair as that of Calvin was, and also that of Luther 

Once more, dear Christine, return to this Land where you have 
received your Baptism and which I may say has given you Life. 
Prevail with your Husband to resolve on the same undertaking. The 
Holy church will on your abjuring your Errors receive you with open 
Arms as well as Mr. Robitail and his Wife, your Mother. You shall 
not want Bread here, and if your Husband will have Land, we shall 
find him some in the island of Montreal. But if he doth not desire 
any, and hath a Trade, he shall not want for Work. But what is 
most essential is that you shall be here both of you enabled to work out 
your Salvation, which you cannot do where you are, since there you are 

not in the Mystical Ark of Noah, which is the Catholic church, 

in which your Daughter was bred and in which She died I 

await your answer to my letter, and am, dear Christine, entirely 
yours in Jesus and Marie. Skgurnot, 

Priest of the Seminary at Ville-Marie, you know me very well. 
At Ville-Marie, the 5th of June, 1727." 

Gov. Burnet begins his reply as follows : 

Boston, Jan. 8, 1728-9. 

Madam .-—I am very sensible of the Disadvantages I lie under in 
not being able to address myself to you under as endearing a Title 
as that which Mr. Segueuot takes to himself. But I don't doubt 
but your good sense will put you on your guard agamst such flatter- 
ing expressions which are commonly made use of for want of good 

Arguments." "Mr. Seguenot has proved nothing of what he 

should have done in that very place of his Letter where he seems 
resolved to muster up all his strength to overpower us. But because 
he has scattered several things up and down in his letter which might 
startle you, I will take the pains to go through it, from one end to 
the other, to make you feel the weakness and false reasoning of it." 

The Governor then proceeds with cahnness to refute the 


priest's assertions and expose his specious arguments. He 
shows Christine how Christ gives "visible marks" by which 
his true followers may be known. "By this shall ye know 
that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another," 
"which," says Governor Burnet, "can never agree to a perse- 
cuting church, as the Roman is." He points her to Paul's 
description of false Christians in the Epistle to Timothy, 
"Of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead cap- 
tive silly women ; " and asks, "Would not anybody say that 
the Apostle points directly to those Confessors who pretend 
to direct the Consciences of the Ignorant and chiefly of Wom- 
en in the Church of Rome ? " 

Alluding to the priest's offer of lands and work to Captain 
Baker, the Governor says, "It is hoped that Mr. Seguenot 
does this out of ignorance. But for Persons that know what 
it is to live in a free Country, to go and throw themselves 
headlong into the Clutches of an absolute Government, it can- 
not be imagined that they can do such a thing, unless they 
have lost their Senses." He concludes by telling her to send 
this letter to Canada and let it be answered, that she may see 
both sides, and "Fix on what is best for the salvation of your 
soul and the Happiness of your Life, which is the heart}^ de- 
sire, Madam of your unknown but humble servant." The 
Governor's letter, which was in French, together with that 
of the priest, was afterwards translated and printed in Bos- 

By the sale of their Brookfield property to a speculator in 
1732, Captain Baker and his wife became impoverished. 
They lived for awhile at Mendon, Mass., where we find Chris- 
tine connected with the church, — and were for a short time 
at Newport, R. I., and finally removed to Dover, N. H. In 
the latter part of the year 1734, Baker's health gave out en- 
tirely, and the next year his wife applied to the Legislature 
for leave to keep a tavern for the support of her family. 


'•'•The humble petition of Christina Baker, the laife of Capt. Thomas 
Baker, of Dover, shoiceth : 
That your petitioner in her childhood was captured by the In- 
dians in the town of Dover, aforesaid, (where she was born) and 
carried to Canada, and there bro't up in the Roman superstition and 
Idolitry. And was there married and well settled and had three 
children ; and after the Death of her Husband she had a very Great 
Inclination to see her own country, and with great Difficulty ob- 
tained permission to Return, leaving all her substance and her chil- 
dren, for by no means could she obtain leave for them ; and since 
your petitioner has been married to Capt. Baker, she did undertake 
the hazzard and fatieug of a Journey to Canada again, in hopes, by 
the interest of Friends, to get her children ; but all in vain ! so that 
her losses are trebbled on her. First, the loss of her house, well 
fitted and furnished, and the lands belonging to it ; second, the loss 
of considerable part of her New England substance in her last jour- 
ney to Canada, and thirdly, the Loss of her children. Yet still she 
hath this comfort since her return, that she is alsoo returned into 
the Bossum of the Protestent church ; for such she most heartily 
thanks Almighty God. And now your petitioner, having a large 
family to support, and by the chances and Changes of fortune here, 
is Reduced to very low circumstances, and her husband past his 
Labour. Your petitioner ladely made her case known to several 
Gents in the Government of the Massachusetts, who out of a char- 
itable Disposition did supply yo'r Petitioner with something to set 
her in a way to subsist her family ; and also advis'd to keep a house of 

Entertainment, and the General assembly of that Government 

made her a present of 500 acres of land in the Province of Maine, 
and put it under the care of Coll. William Pepperell, Esq., for the 
use of your Petitioner (exclusive of her husband's having anything 
to do with it.) Now your Petitioner by the help she hath had has 
bot a lot of land and Built a house on it on the contry Rhoade from 
Dover Meeting House to Cocheco Boome ; and have Bedding and 
other necessaros fit for a Public House for Entertainment of Trav- 
ellers, &:c." 

The former taverner, not keeping an orderly house, had 


been refused a eontinuanee of his license by the Selectmen. 
Christine having submitted her plan to their approval, had 
applied to the Courts for a license. The judges, probably for 
political reasons, refused it to her, and renewed the license to 
the former inn-keeper. 

The Legislature on hearing Christine's petition voted that 
her " prayer be granted," — and she kept her house of entertain- 
ment at Dover for many years. Her husband died of "the 
lethargy" at Roxbury in 1753, while on a visit to some cousins 
there. Her mother, Madame Robitaille, died in Canada at the 
age of ninety, being bedridden the last years of her life. 

Christine or Margaret Otis Baker closed her eventful life 
on Feb. 23, 1773, leaving a large posterity. "She lived," says 
her obituary, "in good reputation, being a pattern of indus- 
try, prudence and economy. She bore a tedious illness with 
much patience, and met death with calmness." 



In the first part of the decade immediately preceding- the 
landing of the Pilgrims, two lads from the middle class of 
society, entered Sydney College at the University of Cam- 
bridge. Of these, the elder, John Wheelwright, was born on 
the Lincolnshire fens, not far from old Boston. His fellow 
student, Oliver Cromwell, first saw the light at Huntingdon. 

While we have no record that either of these youths dis- 
tinguished himself in his college studies, we have no scant 
testimony to the excellence of both in athletic sports. Cot- 
ton Mather says, that he had heard that "when Wheelwright 
was a young spark at the University, he was noted for a more 
than ordinary stroke at wrestling." Cromwell's biographer 
declares, that at Cambridge he was far "more famous for 
football, cudgelling and wrestling than for study." 

Judge Bell, in his memoir of Wheelwright, quotes the Lord 
Protector himself, as being reported to have said, "I remem- 
ber the time when I was more afraid of meeting Wheelwright 
at football, than I have been since of meeting an army in the 
field, for I was infallibly sure of being tripped up by him." 

It was hardly to be expected that these pugnacious young 
athletes would have no convictions, or would prudently re- 
frain from expressing their sentiments on subjects, that were 
at that time rending the political and religious world. As 
vicar of the little hamlet of Bilsby in Lincolnshire, John 


Wheelwright became recognized as a Puritan leader. vSi- 
lenced for non-conformity, about 1633, Wheelwright natur- 
ally followed many of his Lincolnshire friends and neigh- 
bors to America, landing in Boston, May 26, 1636. Here he 
wavS warmly welcomed by his wife's' brother, William Hutch- 
inson, and by Rev. John Cotton, to whose preaching in St. 
Botolph's church in old Boston, he had often listened. 

Soon admitted to the church in Boston, the brilliant young 
Puritan divine became such a favorite with the people, that 
many wished him to be settled with Pastor Wilson and Mr. 
Cotton, as second teacher of the church in Boston. Cotton 
favored the plan, but Wilson and Winthrop opposed it, on 
the ground that Wheelwright, to a certain extent, shared the 
religious opinions of his sister-in-law, Anne Hutchinson. It 
was therefore decided, that Wheelwright should have charge 
of a new church to be gathered in what is now Quincy.^ 

From this time on, the great Antinomian controversy 
waged fiercely. In March, 1637, John Wheelwright preached 
his famous Fast Day Sermon, that led to his arraignment by 
the General Court, to answer to the charge of sedition and 
contempt. In the strife that followed, Wheelwright showed 
that he had not forgotten that " more than ordinary stroke 
at wrestling," for which the youth had been famous. 

At length the Synod, assembled at Newtown,^ August 30, 
1637, declared, that eighty-two errors of doctrine were ram- 
pant, and making sad havoc among the Puritan flocks. This 
was the view halloo, for which the General Court was waiting, 
to set about hunting down the heretical wolves, — and soon 
they were in at the death. 

In November, Wheelwright was disfranchised, and ban- 

' VVheelvvrij^ht's 2nd wife was Mary nmchinson. His fust wife was Marie 
Storre or Storer of Bilsbee. 

■Braintree or Mt. Wollaston. 


ished, with orders to settle his affairs, and be gone from the 
Patent/ within fourteen days. To the added condition, that 
he should not preach again during his stay in Massachusetts, 
Wheelwright gave a scornful refusal. 

It was a bitter winter. Beyond the Merrimac, the snow 
lay three feet on a level, from the 4th of November till the 
5th of March. 

The place of Wheelwright's sojourn during that dreary 
winter cannot be definitely stated, but as early as April, he 
had bought of the Indians the land at Squamscot Falls, now 
the site of Exeter, N. H.^ He was soon joined by several of 
his Massachusetts friends and parishioners. The land was 
cleared, a church gathered, wise regulations for self govern- 
ment agreed upon,-' and all seemed prosperous, when the 
claim of Massachusetts to the region of the Piscataqua, " and 
the desire of some of the Exeter people to come under the 
jurisdiction of the Bay Colony, made it prudent for Wheel- 
wright and his flock to seek a new home." 

In 1 64 1, some of the Exeter congregation got permission 
from Thomas Gorges, nephew of Sir Ferdinand, and Deputy 
Governor of the province of Maine, to occupy the land be- 
tween the Ogunquit and Kennebunk Rivers, from the sea, 
eight miles inland, and two years later, " Mr. John Wheel- 
wright, minister of God's word, and others, " are granted abso- 
lute power, to sett forth any lott or bounds unto any man 
that shall come to inhabit." 

Thus the towns of Exeter, N. H., and Wells, Maine, were 
both founded by the Antinomian exile and his friends. As 
a pioneer in two frontier settlements, the athletic training of 


'^It has been said that he bought land there by the famous deed of 1629, 
before leaving England. 

^"The Combination." 


our Puritan preacher must have stood him in good stead. 
The historian of Wells, in speaking of the connection of the 
Rev. John Wheelwright with that town adds, " He left sons 
whose energies were instrumental in building it up, and giv- 
ing it an influential position in the public councils ;— men 
whose services were of immense benefit in those early days, 
when souls were exposed to the most severe tests of a true 

Samuel, son of the Reverend John Wheelwright, filled 
successively all otifices of trust in the gift of his townsmen. 

"In 1677 he was the representative of York and Wells. 
In 168 1 he was one of the Provincial Council, and later he 
became Judge of Probate and of the Court of Common 

Picture the Wells of two hundred years ago. On a plateau, 
perhaps a mile back from the ocean, a narrow clearing, 
bounded on three sides by a vast and gloomy wilderness. 
A stony highway following the trend of the ridge. On one 
side of the road, a row of houses scattered far apart. Opposite, 
the rocky slopes descending, subdued by incessant toil, bear 
a scanty harvest of maize. Below, wide reaches of marsh, 
threaded by winding creeks, the haunt of countless wild 
fowl. The desert beach, and the sullen sea beyond. To 
York, the nearest settlement, a day's journey by the shore 
if the tide was right ; if not, by any way that a man or horse 
could take. 

With few exceptions, if we may credit its historian, the 
people of Wells, up to about the year 1700, were poor, — 
materially, intellectually and morally. Their houses were 
mostly of logs, daubed with clay. They had few personal 
comforts or conveniences. Their beds were of the cat-tail 
rushes, which they gathered from the marsh. Knives and 
forks, teacups and saucers, silver spoons, chairs, carpets and 
looking glasses, were luxuries almost unknown. Their food 


was of the simplest. They had milk, but no butter, and no 
tea nor coffee. Corn and such fish as they could catch, were 
the chief of their diet. The house of the richest man in 
Wells is thus described by the town historian:^ "The kitchen 
is also the sitting room and parlor. Looking around, we dis- 
cover a table, a pewter pot, a hanger,^ a little mortar, a drip- 
ping pan and a skillet. No crockery, tin nor glass ware. No 
knives, forks, nor spoons, — not a chair to sit in. The house 
contains two other rooms, in each of which is a bed, a blank- 
et and a chest." 

This was the home of Edmund Littlefield, his wife, and 
six children between the ages of six and twenty.^ We can- 
not wonder at this condition of affairs, when we remember 
that the labors of the people were often interrupted by In- 
dian attacks. Rather let us admire the unflagging energy 
and undaunted courage, with which, in the face of hardship 
and danger, they steadfastly held on to their territory. Poor 
and ignorant they may have been, — not of the highest mo- 
rality according to our standard; but no peril could drive these 
brave settlers from their frontier post. Every hour their 
lives were in jeopardy. Again and again their fields were 
devastated, their houses burned, their neighbors butchered 
or carried into captivity, but not once was the little settle- 
ment wholly deserted. 

From 1688 to the peace of Ryswick, [1697] a series of un- 
provoked and unjustifiable attacks was made upon our fron- 
tier, by the French, under the pretext of protecting the 
Eastern Indians, from encroachments by the English. To 
divert the Abenaquis, to prevent their being approached by 

'Bourne's "History of Wells and Kennebunk, p. 239." 

'^ A hook on which to hang a pot. 

•'Storer, then the richest man in Wells, died in 1730, leaving an estate of 
$5000, and six silver spoons. There were no other silver spoons in Wells at 
that time. 


the English with proffers of friendship, to keep the English 
to the wCvSt of the Piscataqua, and thereby to secure Maine 
as a part of Acadia, was the motive of these attacks. The 
instructions to Villebon on his appointment as Governor of 
Acadia, were to make the Abenaquis live by war against the 
English, and himself to set them a laudable example. 

Admit that the blow struck at Pemaquid' in 1689, and at 
Casco- in 1690, were the legitimate fruit of the pillage at Pen- 
tagoet'^ in 1688, — no such justification can be offered for the 
butcheries at Kittery, Berwick, York and Oyster River.^ 

In this border warfare, religious fanaticism was the strong- 
est weapon of the French. If the Abenaki chieftain flagged, 
and .seemed willing to listen to overtures of peace from the 
English, the exhortations of the mission priests of the- Ken- 
nebeck and Penobscot, fanned the flame of war afresh. The 
scene at Father Thury's mission on the departure of these 
war parties was one of great religious excitement.' The 
warriors crowded the chapel, seeking confession and absolu- 
tion, as if going to certain death, and when these savage cru- 
saders, hideous in fresh war paint, set out from the mission, 
headed by their priest, their women and children threw 
themselves upon their knees before the altar, and relieving 
each other by detachments, counted their beads continually 
from daybreak till nightfall, beseeching Jesus, the Saints and 
the Blessed Virgin, for protection and victory in the holy 
war. The infant towns of Eastern New England received 
a baptism of blood at the hands of the Abenaki converts, which 
was sanctioned and encouraged by their mi.ssion priests. 

'P'ort at mouth of the Kennebec. 




■'•See Relation du Combat de Caribas par M. Thury, Missionaire, 16S9. 
Vol. I, Doc. pub. a Quebec, p. 478. 


The French archives contain abundant authority for these 
statements, in the correspondence of those concerned, in the 
instructions of the government, and in the reports of officials. 

We of to-day are not responsible for the unpleasant facts 
of history. They must be met without excuse or denial, 
without prejudice or passion. The evidence that the mission 
priests of the Abenakis were active promoters of the strife 
can no more be refuted, than the testimony against the 
Puritan ministry for their part in the persecution of the 
Quakers, and the horrors of the Witchcraft delusion.^ 

The names of the Fathers Thury and Bigot are as truly 
and painfully connected with the tragedies of Pemaquid and 
Oyster River, as those of Cotton Mather and Pastor Wilson 
with the whipping, mutilating and killing of Quakers, and 
the hanging of witches. It was an age of intolerance. We 
may not judge the past by the standards of the present. 

During the period I have mentioned, Maine had passed 
under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, but though every 
English settlement to the east of Wells had been laid waste, 
(the survivors fleeing to Wells for refuge,) the authorities at 
Boston seem to have shown an indifference to the needs of 
that place. There were, however, valiant men in Wells, 
keenly alive to the perils of the hour, and ever on the alert 
to save the town, and defend the province. Conspicuous 
among them were Lieut. Joseph Storer and Capt. John 
Wheelwright. In the annals of New England there are no 
nobler names. 

John Wheelwright was the son of Samuel, and grandson 
of the pugilistic Puritan, Rev. John Wheelwright. By his 
prudence, his energy, his fidelity, his bravery and his pat- 

'The archives also contain letters from Acadian officials, censuring and 
asking for the removal of certain priests, "do nothings," who tooic no part in 
the war, but attended strictly to their religious duties and were therefore sus- 
pected of favoring the English. 


riotism, he earned the distinction, of being "the bulwark of 
Massachusetts for defence against Indian assaults."' 

Letters abound in our archives, signed by vStorer and 
Wheelwright, and other faithful sentinels on this outpost, 
entreating that they may not be left to perish, but that sol- 
diers and ammunition may be sent to their relief, with money 
and provision for their support. 

By their foresight, some houses were palisaded, and Storer 
and others built garrison houses as early as 1689. As these 
garrison houses are a feature fast disappearing from the face 
of New England, I may be pardoned for describing them. 
They were two stories in height, the upper story projecting 
a foot or two beyond the lower, small port holes being some- 
times made in the floor of the projection, through which those 
within might fire down, or pour boiling water upon an enemy 
attempting to force an entrance through the door or win- 
dows below. There were also portholes in other parts of the 
house. Other garrison houses were built of hewn timbers, 
eight or ten inches square, laid horizontally, one over the 
other. The doors were of heavy plank, and often there were 
port holes for windows. Some of these houses had flankers, 
or watch towers, at two diagonal corners, from which one 
could see every part of the building. The principal garrison 
houses of the town were palisaded, and like the so-called "Old 
Indian House" in Deerfield, served as a refuge for the neigh- 
bors in any alarm; — and as quarters for the soldiers, sent for 
their protection. vStorer's was the largest garrison house in 
Wells. For his heroic defence of Storer's house in 1692, 
Captain Convers was made Commander-in-Chief of all the 
forces in Maine. 

In the midst of these troublous times, in the very year of 
the building of Storer's fort, John Wheelwright married 
Mary Snell and took her home to the little one story house, 

'Maine was bought by Massachusetts in his time. 


built by his grandfather, the Puritan preacher. It was proba- 
bly palisaded at this time. Peace being nominally restored 
by the treaty of Ryswick, the people of Wells returned to 
their farms and went courageously to work; but peace was of 
short duration. By his acceptance of the throne of Spain for 
his grandson in 1700, the French king broke the solemn en- 
gagement made to William of England, in the two Treaties 
of Partition. His subsequent recognition of James Edward, 
the Pretender, as king of England, was a gross infringement 
of the treaty of Ryswick. 

On the nth of June, 1702, Joseph Dudley returned to Bos- 
ton as Governor of Massachusetts Bay. Within ten days 
after his arrival, he was formally notified of England's decla- 
ration of war against France. Fearing trouble from the 
Indians at the Eastward, he with a party of friends, went at 
once to Pemaquid,^ and received from the sachems of that 
region, promises of peace. Satisfied with this assurance, he 
returned to congratulate the General Court on the success of 
his journey, and to reiterate his demand for the restoration 
of the fort at Pemaquid.- 

The following extract from a letter of John Wheelwright 
to the Governor, dated Aug. 4, 1702, shows that the former 
had no faith in the words of the savages. 

"■Sir, — I understand that the Indians at the Eastward vearey redily 
Professed Great fidelity to yourself, and the English nation, with 
Great Promis of Peace and friendship, which Promises so long as it 
may stand with theire own Interest, I believe they may keep, and 
no longer, their teachers Instructing them that there is no faith to 
be kept with Hereticks, such as they account us to be, themselves 

allso being naturaley deseatful I having Experienced so mutch 

of their horable deseatfulness in the Last war, upon many treaties of 
'At the mouth of the Kennebec River. 

^This was a sort of "Carthago est delenda" with Dudley. Massachusetts 
understood that to rebuild Pemaquid would be ot no benefit to her, but would 
be only a continuation of the quarrel over the debatable ground of Acadia. 


Peace, so that 1 cannot but apprehend ourselves that live in these re- 
mote parts of the countrey, and being frontires, to be in Great Dan- 
ger, and considering that war was Proclaimed with the French 

who may send out an army against us this town be- 
ing the nearest to the Enemy, our Inhabitants doth therefore Pray, 
that your Excelency would assist us with sum men twenty or thirtie, 
or so many as your Excellency in Wisdom may think fit." 

Wheelwrig-ht goes on to ask for the "Liberty of a Garrison 
[house] Informing your Excelleney that if I mtist remove into 
the middle of the town, I must leave that Little Estate I have 
to maintain my Family with, and Carey a large Family where 
I have but little to maintain them withall." 

Six or seven of their eleven children had already been born 
to John Wheelwright and Mary Snell, and the little one story 
house at the Town's End, being in an exposed and isolated 
situation, and now too small for his increasing family. Wheel- 
wright asked the consent and help of the government to build 
a substantial garrison house, not only for the safety of his 
own family, but as a refuge in case of attack, for his nearest 

Storer and Wheelwright, being the leading men of the town, 
were licensed as retailers of beer and strong liquors, and 
their houses served as ordinaries or taverns for the public. 
"In those days," sighs the historian of Wells, "public houses 
were not always nurseries of virtue." It is a hint of the mor- 
als of the times, that both Storer and Wheelwright were "in- 
dicted for keeping Keeles and bowls at their houses contrary 
to law."^ Perhaps the ordinary was not an unmixed evil. 
Ministers and judges put up here, in their journeys from 
place to place, bringing the latest news from other parts. 
Courts were held here. Here the town officers met to delib- 
erate, and the men of the village gathered here for. social 
chat and pastime. Commissioners, referees and executors 

'" Keels and bowls," old English for nine-pins and balls. 


met in the "foreroom" of the ordinary, to lay out roads, decide 
disputes, and settle estates. Rum was a necessity of life in 
those days, and the flip and toddy, mixed by John Wheel- 
wright on such occasions, was scored against the town, the 
man, or the estate, whose business was there transacted. To 
the boys, who had neither books, nor games, nor school, the 
ordinary was amusing, and I have not a doubt, that little 
Esther Wheelwright stole away now and then from her busy 
mother, to look on at the games. We may fancy her with 
her closely cropped head, her Puritan cap and homespun 
frock, clapping her baby hands and shouting in glee at a 
ten strike with the bowls and keels, made by some gaunt 

Early in June, 1703,^ Dudley was notified by the Governor 
of New York,^ that the French and Indians were preparing 
for an attack on Deerfield. Whereupon Dudley invited the 
Abenaqui sachems to a conference at Casco. Thither he re- 
paired with a splendid retinue on the 20th of June, and there 
to meet him, came all the famous sachems of the time. P'or 
the Norridgewocks there was that loup-garou Hopehood, ex- 
celling all other savages in cruelty, — and Moxus the brag- 
gart, and Adiawando, for the Pennacooks, and Wattanummon, 
for the Pequawkets, and Bomazeen, the crafty, for the Kenne- 
becks, and Wanungunt, for the Penobscots. The Governor 
tells them that commissioned by his victorious Queen, he 
has come as to friends and brothers, to reconcile all differences 
since the last treaty. After a solemn pause, their Interpret- 
er replies: 

'■'■Brother, — the clouds fly and darken, yet we still sing the songs 
of peace. As high as the sun is above the earth, so far are our 
thoughts from war, or from making the least breach between us." 
'Dudley's 2nd trip to the Eastward. 

^Lord Cornbury, a cousin of Queen Anne. Palfrey Hist. N. E. Vol. IV, says 
that Lord Cornbury kept a spy at Albany to hear the talk of the Six Nations. 


After an interchange of gifts, both parties cast more stones 
on the mounds heaped up at a former treaty and called the 
Two Brothers, to signify fraternal love existing between the 
English and x\benakis. At this memorable council. Captain 
Samuel, a savage of great renown, who was most officious in 
trying to lull the fears of the English, said •} "Several mis- 
sionaries have come among us, sent by the French Fryars to 
break the peace between the English and us, yet their words 
have made no impression on us. We are as firm as the moun- 
tains and will so continue as long as the sun and moon en- 

Parting volleys were fired on both sides, and Dudley re- 
tired, believing that present danger was averted froin Deer- 
field and the whole frontier. His satisfaction with this re- 
markable love feast, must have been somewhat lessened by 
the presence of Mesambowit and Wexar for the Andros- 
coggins, who though "seemingly affable and kind, came with 
two hundred and fifty men in sixty five canoos, well armed 
and gaudily painted," — by the late arrival of Wattanummon, 
who purposely lingered, as was afterwards .said, expecting a 
re- enforcement of two hundred French and Indians, with 
whom they were to fall upon the English, — and by the dis- 
covery at the parting salute, that the guns of the savages 
were charged with ball. 

Not two months had passed since the treaty of Casco, 
when one midsummer day, six or seven bands of French and 
Indians fell upon the scattered settlements. Charlevoix says 
calmly,'^ "They committed some trifling ravages, and killed 
about three hundred men, but the essential point was to en- 
gage the Abenakis, in such a manner, that to retract would 
be impossible." 

'Drake, Book of the Indians, Vol. II. p. 125. 
■-'Charlevoi.x, Nouvelle France, Vol. II, p. 289. 


Wells, Winter Harbor/ Spurwink,^ Cape Porpoise, Scar- 
boro, Saco, Perpooduck^ and Casco"* were attacked. " At 
Hampton," says the chronicler, "they slew four besides the 
Widow Mussey, a remarkable speaking Quaker and much 
lamented by that sect." 

At Haverhill, in February, Joseph Bradley's garrison house 
was attacked. Goodwife Bradley, " perceiving the misery 
that was attending her, and having boiling soap on the fire, 
scalded one of them to death. "^ She was carried captive for 
the second time. Her husband attended Ensign Sheldon, on 
his second expedition to Canada, and Goody Bradley and 
James Adams of Wells were two of the forty-four captives 
redeemed on that expedition. 

The merciless fusillade on our frontier^ began Aug. 10, 
1703, at Wells in the east and virtually ended Feb. 29, 1703-4, 
at Deerfield in the west.? Thenceforth the lines of the lives of 
the captives of both towns, often cross each other. 

Wells, having successfully resisted the assault of 1692, be- 
came the special object of savage fury. Anticipating victory 
at that time. Cotton Mather says: "They fell to dividing per- 
sons and plunder Such a gentleman should serve such 

an one, and his wife be maid of honor to such a squaw, and 
Mr. Wheelwright, instead of being the worthy Counsellor he 
now is, was to be the servant of such a netop." The capture 
of Wheelwright was a much coveted prize. 

The tragedy which began at Wells at nine o'clock on the 
morning of Aug. 10, 1703, ended in the capture or death of 


' Ken nebunk port. 



^Penhallow, Indian wars. 

^Letter of Dudley to Lords of Trade, April 8, 1712, says: "From Deerfield 
in the West to Wells in the East, is the frontier to the inland of both Provinces." 

"Matthew Farnsworth and others of Groton, Mass., were captured in Aug., 


thirty-nine of the inhabitants. Wheelwrig-ht's house being 
at the eastern end of the village, was probably one of the 
first attacked. His little daughter Esther, then seven years 
old, was captured. The intrepid Storer was also bereft. His 
daughter Mary, aged eighteen, was among the captives. One 
longs to know what followed. Was there pursuit ? Whither 
were the captives hurried, and how did it fare with them on 
the retreat ? Alas ! no echo from the past replies. We may 
assume that Mary Storer and Esther Wheelwright were kind- 
ly treated by their savage captors, who knew the value of 
their prize, and doubtless expected a large sum for the ran- 
som of the two girls. 

In gloom and despair, the meagre harvest was gathered 
that autumn by the survivors at Wells. Drearily the winter 
settled down, — ^joylessly came planting time again, and a sec- 
ond harvest was garnered, before the veil of silence and sus- 
pense, that hung over the fate of the captives was lifted. 
Then came a letter from Samuel Hill, dated Canada, Oct. 4, 
1704, with assurances of the safety of his family, and that of 
his brother Ebenezer. Meantime Deerfield had been sacked, 
and in the December, following Hill's letter. Ensign Sheldon 
of that town set out for Canada. The hearts of all the New 
England captives there were cheered by the news of his ar- 
rival. On the 29th of March, 1705, while in Quebec, he re- 
ceived from his son's wife, Hannah Chapin of Springfield, 
then a captive in Montreal, a letter enclosing the following,^ 
from James Adams, a Wells captive : 

" 1 pray giue my Kind loue to Landlord Shelden, and tel Him that 
i am sorry for all his los. I doe, in these few lins showe youe, that 
god has shone yo grat Kindness and marcy. In carrying youre 
Daighter Hanna and Mary in partickeler, through so grat a jorney 
far beiend my expectation, noing How Lame they was ; the Rest of 
yore children are with the Indians, — Rememberrance Hues near ca- 

'Now in Memorial Hall, Deerfield. 


bect,i Hannah also Lines with the frenc'', Jn. in the sam house i 


In reply to his daughter's letter Mr. Sheldon says : 

"My desire is that Mr. Addames and you, wod doe al you can with 

your mistres that my children mite by redemed from the indanes." 

Shortly after this, on the 2nd of April, 1705, the captive 
Samuel Hill, was sent on parole to Boston, as Interpreter with 
De Vaudreuil's reply to Dudley's proposal for exchange of 
prisoners, which proposal John Sheldon had carried to Can- 
ada. Hill visited his friends in Wells, while on this embassy, 
and was probably the bearer of the following letter from his 

brother Ebenezer : 

"Quebec March 1705. 

Cousin Pendleton Fletcher of Saco, Mary Sayer, brother Joseph's 

daughter, and Mary Storer of Wells, with our other friends and 

neighbors here, are all well. Myself, wife and child are well. Pray 

that God may keep, and in due time deliver us. 

Your loving brother and sister, 

Ebenezer and Abiah Hill." 

Never was the sea so blue, — -never did the waves leap so 
gaily to the shore, — never was the sky so fair, or the air so 
soft, or the scent of the pines so sweet, as when the news of 
that letter spread from door to door at Wells. For nearly 
two years they had mourned their loved ones as dead, when 
the glad tidings comes that "Cousin Fletcher and Mary 
Sayer and brother Joseph's daughter and Mary Storer and 
other friends and neighbors as if named, are well." All was 
joy in Storer's garrison. In Wheelwright's, not joy, but hope 
revived, and yearning more intense, and resolve strengthened, 
to find and rescue Esther if alive. 

But where was Esther? Clearly the Hills and James 
Adams were ignorant of her fate, — but how did this child 
elude the sharp eyes of John Sheldon, and the vigilance of 
De Vatidreuil? 



Far away in the .depths of the forest, to the head waters of 
the Kennebec, the Abenaki wolf had swiftly fled with the 
bleating lamb thus snatched from the fold. There, in one of 
the Abenaki villag-es of Father Bigot's mission, Esther lived 
in the wigwam of her tawny master, an object of wonder to 
his children, of jealousy, perhaps, to his fierce squaw. 

The days lengthen into weeks, — the weeks to months, 
and these to years,^ when one day as he is making his arduous 
round from village to village, baptizing, catechizing, confess- 
ing his converts, Father Bigot sees a little girl, whose pale 
face, shrinking manners and tattered garments, show her to 
be of different race from the bold, dusky, naked rabble 
around her. He calls her to him. He speaks to her, perhaps, 
an English word. She does not answer. She has lost her 
childhood's speech. He sends for her savage master, and 
learns that she is Wheelwright's child. "'The English rose 
is drooping," says the priest, "the forest life is too hard for 
her." He will "transplant her to Canada, where she will 
thrive better under the nurture of the gentle nuns." "The 
little white flower must not be plucked up," says the Indian, 
"let her grow up among the pine trees, to deck by and by, 
the wigwam of some young brave." On each return of the 
priest to the village, this discussion is renewed, but neither 
promise nor threat can move the sullen savage. 

The lot of the little captive is easier from that day. The 
Indian knows it is in the power of his Great Father the 
French Governor, to take the child from him, and he tries 
by kindness to wdn her to stay. The priest spares no pains 
to teach her, and the intelligent child quickly responds to 
his efforts. Soon she can say her credo and her catechism in 
French, as well as in Abenaki. Only she finds it hard that 
even Father Bigot does not seem to understand her when she 
talks about her mother, and her brothers and sisters. And if 

'Esther Wheelwright was six years with the savages. 


she asks when her father will come for her, her master is 
angry and the priest frowns. Meantime De Vaudreuil is in- 
formed by Father Bigot of the hiding place of the child, and 
in some way or other, the news reaches Boston, that Esther 
Wheelwright, long since given up by her parents as dead, is 

On the 23rd of April, 1 708, Lieut. Josiah Littlefield of Wells, 
while on his way to York, was captured and carried captive 
to Canada, arriving at Montreal on the 3rd of June. vSoon 
after, he writes as follows: 

"'Dear and loving children, my kind love to you all, 

and to my brother and sister and to all my friends att 

Wells 1 have liberty granted to me to rite to my friends, 

and to the governor, and for my redemtion and for VVheelrite's child 
to be redeemed, by two Indens prisoners with the Eng- 
lish and 1 have been with the Governor this morning, and hee 

have promised, that if our governor will send them, that wee shall be 
redeemed, for the governor have sent a man to redeem Wheilerites 
child, and do looke for him in now every day with the child to 
Moriel where I am, and I would pray Whilrite to be very brief in the 
matter, that we may come home before winter, for we must come by 
Albany, and I have allso acquainted our gofnear Dedly- with the 

In a postcript to another letter, written at the same time, 
Littlefield writes: 

"Mary Storar is well and Rachel Storer is well, and Storar 

is well and Mary Austin of York is well. 

1 pray you charge Wheelright to be mindful consearning 

our redemption." 

We need no assurance, that a demand was at once made by 
Dudley, upon the French Governor, for the release of Esther 

'Bourne, History of Wells, p. 267. 
'^Governor Dudley. 


Wheclwrioht. After much trouble, Father Bigot succeeds in 
buying the English rose from the Abenaqui sachem. In 
the autumn of 1708, he transplants her to Quebec, where she 
is kindly welcomed by the Governor and his wife, who re- 
ceived her into their own household. From the squalor and 
rags of the wigwam on the Kennebec, to the luxury of 
the Chateau vSaint Louis, what a contrast! — What are the 
thoughts of the twelve years old girl? Have the five years 
of forest life blotted out her remembrance of the little house 
at the town's end at Wells? She has learned to love Pore 
Bigot as her kindest friend and father. To priest and child 
alike, the partmg must have been painful. Does she console 
herself with the belief that she is now to be restored to 
home and friends, or is she dazzled and pleased by her sur- 

No effort seems to have been made by De Vaudreuil to re- 
store Esther to her parents. Madame la Marquise, his wife, 
having received an appointment as assistant-governess to 
the royal children at the French Court, decides to place her 
eldest daughter, Louise, with Esther in the boarding school 
of the Ursuline Convent. 

"The 1 8th of January, 1709, says the Register of the Con- 
vent, "Madame la Marquise brought us a little English girl, 
as a pupil. She is to pay 40 ^citsy^ 

The names of Louise de Vaudreuil and Esther Wheel- 
wright stand side by side on the list of pupils at the pension 
of the Ursulines at Quebec. Thanks to Father Bigot, shortly 
after entering the school, Esther took her first communion 
"with angelic fervor." Beloved by the sisters, and happy in 
her convent home, Esther expressed a strong desire to be- 
come a nun. "l^>ut," says the annalist of the Ursulines, "the 
Marquis who con.sidered himself pledged to restore her to 
her family, would not hear a word to this, and took her home 

'About %^o of our money. 

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with his daughter to the chateau.^" A political prisoner of 
such importance, could not be permitted to immure herself 
in a convent. Graceful, amiable, modest, Esther won all 
hearts at the chateau, as before at the convent, — but her life 
for the next two years must have been restless and unhappy. 
It was a time of much negotiation between the two govern- 
ments, concerning a general exchange of prisoners. During 
this business, Esther accompanied De Vaudreuil to Three Riv- 
ers and Montreal. At Three Rivers she stayed with the Ursu- 
lines, and at Montreal, in the cloisters of the Hotel-Dieu. 
On Saturday, Oct. 3, 171 1, while at Montreal, she was god- 
mother at the baptism of Dorothee de Noyon, infant daugh- 
ter of Abigail Stebbins, a Deerfield captive, and signed her 
name in a handsome handwriting in the parish register, with 
Father Meriel, and the son of the Baron of Longueil. 

In JuDe, 1 71 2, the French Governor proposed that our cap- 
tives be brought from Canada into or near Deerfield, and 
French prisoners sent home from thence. Two of the French 
in our hands, absolutely refusing to return to Canada,^ young 
Samuel Williams^ set out from Deerfield with the others on 
the loth of July, returning to Boston in September, with 
nine New England captives. 

The absence of Madame de Vaudreuil in Europe, making it 
inconvenient for the Governor to keep Esther with him at the 
the chateau, he yielded at last to her entreaties to be allowed 
to go back to her Ursuline mothers. Fostered by the atmos- 
phere of the convent, a religious exaltation took possession of 
her soul. — "One thought alone," says the annalist, "occupied 
her mind, — the preservation of her faith and the salvation of 

'Esther was thirteen in 1709, when she entered the pension, remaining there 
till 1711. 

^Cosset and Le Fevre. 

^Lieut. Samuel Williams, then but twenty-three years old, a redeemed cap- 
tive and son of the Rev. John Williams of Deerfield. 


her soul." On the second of October, 171 2, on the festival of 
Saint Ursula, she began her novitiate as an Ursuline mm. ( )n 
the third of January, 171 3, she took the white veil. The joy 
of Father Bigot in seeing his protegee arrayed as the "bride of 
Jesus" knew no bounds. He insisted on defraying the ex- 
penses of the- occasion, and preached to the multitude as- 
sembled to witness the ceremony, a sermon glowing with 
feeling and eloquence. From the text, "Thy hand shall 
lead me and thy right hand shall hold me," the priest shows 
Esther the hand of Providence in every event of her life. 

"Dear sister," he says, "in these words the Psalmist seems 
to me to have expressed as in a picture the story of your 

life Hell! Profane world! — in vain do you array your 

strongest batteries against God's elect His right hand 

shall hold them By what marvels of God's goodness 

do you find yourself to-day, my sister, happily transplanted 
from a sterile and ingrate land, where you would have been 
the slave of the demon of heresy, to a land of blessing and 
promise, wliere you are about to enjoy the sweet freedom of 
the children of God." 

The priest admonishes the nuns, that they should be in- 
spired with the more tenderness for this young stranger, 
from the fact that their Immortal Bridegroom went so far to 
seek her. 

Turning again to Esther he cries, "Are you not, tny dear 
Sister another little Esther to whom a harsh captivity is 
about to open the door to the throne, not of a powerful 
Ahasuerus, — but of the Master of Ahasuerus — the Lord of 
Lords and King of Kings. To Him and for Him, she is led 
in triumph, and if this triumph seems to you to have nothing 
of the magnificence of a marriage festival, — if instead of joy- 
ful acclamations and the harmony of musical instruments, 
nothing is heard but the confused and fierce yells of savage 
warriors, none the less is it a triumph for her the last scene 


of which is represented to-day, when she stands about to be 
clad in the livery of the Divine Bridegroom," He depicts 
with pathos the sorrow of Esther's childhood, "snatched from 
all that was dearest to yon, following your savage masters 
with unequal footsteps, by paths difficult beyond the concep- 
tion of all who have not experienced them as -you and I have 
my dear Sister." He repeats to her the sorrowful circum- 
stances m which he found her, in order to prove to her that 
in all her perils, privations and sufferings, she had been up- 
lifted and led by the hand of God. 

Alluding to her reluctance to leave the convent at the 
Governor's command, and to the year of absence so full of 
doubt, suspense, anxiety and grief to her, he bursts into this 
invocation: "Oh my God! to whom nothing is unknown, that 
transpires in this vast universe, wilt Thou be insensible only 
to the sorrowful adventures of a young stranger, so worthy 
of Thy care and who seems destined for such great things? — 
Didst Thou seek her in the very midst of heresy, and stir up 
so great a tumult to carry her away from her native land, 
only to see her snatched from Thee now? Hast Thou led her 
into this country, only to let her taste a happiness she may 
never attain? Hast Thou shown her the inestimable prize, 
only to make her regret its loss more bitterly? No! no! dear 
sister, — You cannot escape from the hand of your God. All 
obstacles are removed. Nothing stands in the way of your 
happiness. So long as you were not of an age to dispose of 
yourself. Providence suspended the natural tenderness of 
your father and mother, and abated the eagerness of their 
first pursuit of their child. 

Now that the law makes you mistress of yourself, they can 
no longer oppose the choice you have made of a holy relig- 
ion, and a condition of life which they disapprove, only be- 
cause they know not its excellence or its sanctity." 

In April following the Treaty of Utrecht, Captarin John 


Schuyler arrived in Canada as ambassador for a general ex- 
change of prisoners. Later in the year, Reverend John Wil- 
liams and Captain John vStoddard were in Canada on a similar 

By all these envc^ys, a special demand was made for the re- 
lease of Eunice Williams, and doubtless for Wheelwright's 
daughter ; and Esther received pressing letters from her fam- 
ily urging her return. This is the first record of letters to 
Esther from her family, but her resolution to become a nun 
was unshaken by them. However, lest stronger temptation 
should assail the young novice, and at her most urgent en- 
treaties, it was thought best to shorten her term of probation, 
the circumstances being considered by all, sufficiently extra- 
ordinary to warrant this exception to their rules, — the only 
one of the kind ever made by the Ursulines of Quebec. 
Whether the Governor wholly approved of this proceeding, 
or whether in this instance, the state succumbed to the church, 
we have no means of knowing. 

On the morning of the 12th of April, 17 14, the Marquis de 
Vaudreuil with his brilliant suite, — the Bishop of Canada and 
the dignitaries of the church, in all the splendor of their 
priestly vestments, — with all the beauty and fashion of Que- 
bec, assembled in the church of the Ursulines, which was 
decorated as if for the grandest festival. There Esther 
Wheelwright was invested with the black robe and veil of 
their order, by the Sisters of Saint Ursula, and the young 
New England captive, known 'thereafter as Mother Esther 
Marie Joseph of the Infant Jesus, serenely turned her face 
away forever from her childhood's home and friends. 

A quarter of a century passes before the curtain rises again 
on Esther Wheelwright. 

It is just one hundred years since the Ursuline, Marie de 
rincarnation, and her sister nuns landing at Quebec from a 
little boat "deeply laden with salted eodiish, on which un- 


cooked, they had subsisted for a fortnight, fell prostrate, 

and kissed the sacred soil of Canada."^ 

Just a hundred years, too, since the Puritan exile, John 
Wheelwright formed with his companions at Exeter, that 
remarkable Combination for self government.^ 

It is the year of our Lord, 1739. For a year by prayer and 
penance extraordinary, the Ursulines of Quebec, have been 
preparing themselves with rapturous devotion to celebrate 
worthily the centennial anniversary of their foundation.^ 

At midnight the cathedral bells, echoed by a gayer peal 
from the convent, announce to the city of Quebec, that a festi- 
val day is at hand. The altars of the Ursuline church are 
magnificently decked. The freshly gilded altar screen re- 
flects the light from hundreds of wax tapers blazing in silver 
candlesticks. From four in the morning till noon, mass is 
celebrated uninterruptedly. Processions of priests, in vest- 
ments stiff with gold, and lace from the looms of Europe, 
come and go chanting the Te Deum. 

As the day declines, the plaintive voices of the nuns, sing- 
ing their vesper hymns, steal softly from behind the grille. 

In the little house at the town's end in Wells, in the dim 
candle light, an old man, and his old wife sit alone together. 
The click of her knitting needles is in sweet accord with the 
scratch of his quill, while he writes as follows: 

"I commend my soul to God my Creator, hoping for Pardon of 
all my Sins, and everlasting salvation through the alone merits of 
Jesus Christ." 

'Parkman, Jesuits in N. A., p. 1S2. The ship anchored at Tadoussac. 
Thence the nuns proceeded in a small boat to Quebec. Marie de ITncarna- 
tion, aged 39. Mdlle. de la Peltrie, 30. Mere St. Croix. 30. Marie de St. Jo- 
seph, 22. Mdlle. Charlotte Barre, 18. Indians ran along the shore. 

^Monday, June 5, 1639. 

^Among those pious virgins are three New England captives, Esther Wheel- 
wright, Mary Anne Davis, and Dorothee Jeryan, whom I believe to be Jordan. 


He makes his wife. Mary, sole Exeeutrix of his will, and be- 
queaths to her lands, mills, his household goods, his cattle of 
all kinds, his negro and mulatto servants, and a share of his 
money. Then his thoughts dwell on the little child, long ago 
so cruelly torn fnmi him: 

"1 give and bcqiieathto my daughter Esther Wheelwright, if Hvingin 
Canada, whom 1 have not heard of for this many years, and hath 
been absent for more than 30 yeares, if it should please Crod that 
She return to this country and settle here, then my will is that my 
four sons viz: John, Samuel, Jeremiah and Nathaniel each of them 
pay her Twenty Five i-)ounds, it being in the Whole One Hundred 
Pounds, within six months after her Return and Settlement." 

Captain John Wheelwright died Aug. 13, 1745. 

On the 1 6th of November, 17SO, his widow who survived 
him ten years, disposed by will of her temporal estate. 

vShe bequeaths to her four sons, "each 5^^ in old tenor bills, 
or the value thereof in lawful money." 

To her daughters Mary Moody and Sarah Jefferds, all her 
"wearing Apparell," including her "Gold Necklace, Rings 
and Buttons to be equally divided between them," and to 
Sarah Jefferds in addition, a "negro boy named Asher." 

Of her "Real and Personal Estate, within Doors or withotit," 
one fourth is bequeathed to each of her two daughters afore- 
said, one fourth to her "three beloved (rrand-daughters," 
children of her "deceased daughter Hannah Plaisted," and 
one fourth to her "four beloved Granddaughters," children 
of her "deceased Daughter Elizabeth Newmarch." 

In the division of her property, her "Negro servant Wom- 
an named Pegg, shall be Divided to siich of my Aforesaid 
Daughters or Granddaughters which she shall choose to live 

with after my Decease" and "furthermore Provided my 

Beloved Daughter Msther Wheelwright, who has been many 
years in Canada, is yet living and should by the wonder work- 
ing Providence of God be Returned to her Native Land, and 


tarry and dwell in it, I give and bequeath unto her, one F'ifth 
part of my Estate which I have already by this Instrument 
wilh' should be divided to and among my af ores'' Daughters 
and Granddaughters, to be paid by them in Proportion to 
their Respective Share in the above mentioned Division unto 
her my vSaid Daughter Esther Wheelwright, within one year 
after my Decease Anything above written in this Instrument 
to the Contrary notwithstanding."^ 

It would seem from the wills of Captain John Wheel- 
wright and his wife, that the testators did not know that their 
daughter had bound herself by irrevocable vows to a monas- 
tic life. The History of the town of Wells, published in 1875, 
confirms this opinion. Its author, alluding to the refusal of 
some New England captives to return from their captivity, 

says, "Esther Wheelwright was one of the number 

Whether she acquired any more intimate than the natural 
relationships of life, does not appear from- any tradition or 

written relics of the day She wrote to her father from 

her captivity. He lived in the hope that she would come 
back, and provided for her in his will, in the event she 

should return from her wandering after his death the 

fate of all humanity may have overtaken her before that 

time." On the contrary, the annalist of the Ursulines 

states, that "Immediately after Esther's profession as a nun, 
word was sent to her family, who far from being offended 
with this step of the young girl, sent her a messenger from 
Boston, charged with letters and gifts." These statements, 
both made by respectable authority, are irreconcilable. Care- 
ful study forces me to the conclusion, that the annalist of 
the convent records actual events, of which at the date of 
the publication of the history of Wells, not even a tradition 
remained to Wheelwright's descendants in New England. 

Imagine the stir at the convent, when in January, 1754, a 

'"Maine Wills." Library of the Hist, and Gen. Soc. Boston. 


young gentleman from lioston presented himself at the door, 
announcing himself as the nephew of Mother Esther of the 
Infant Jesus, and demanding an interview w^ith his beloved 
aunt. The flutter of the ToNrun,'^ the hesitation of the 
Mother Superior, the hurried eonsultation of all in authority,— 
may be better imagined than described. After some delay, 
the' Bishop kindly granted entrance to Major Wheelwright, 
"hoping that it might result in his conversion." 

How one longs to know what this aunt and nephew, meet- 
ing then for the first time, had to say to each other,— in what 
language they talked, — what questions were asked by the 
captive of fifty years. 

All we know is, that at his departure, the young man gave 
to his aunt a miniature portrait of her mother, and present- 
ed the Community with some "fine linen, a beautiful silver 
flagon, and a knife, fork and spoon, of the same material."^ 

At the moment of Major Wheelwright's return to New 
England, young Major Washington was making his report 
to Governor Dinwiddle, of the refusal of the French to aban- 
don their fort at the headwaters of the Ohio.^ The tardy at- 
tempt of the English in the following February, to build a 
fort at the fork of the Ohio,^ brought on a skirmish between 
Washington and the French commander, which, says Mr. 
Parkman, "began the war that set the world on fire." 

'The attendant at the revolving grille at which all visitors to the convent 
apply for admission. 

"This account of Major Wheelwright's visit may be found in Histoire des 
Ursulines de Quebec, p. 327, Vol. 11. Our own Archives record at least three 
journeys of Major Nathaniel Wheelwright to Canada as ambassador from our 
Government for the exchange of captives. See Appendix: especially Wheel- 
wright's letter to Gov. Shirley, dated Nov. 30, 1750, in which he refers to his em- 
bassy of the year before. From this it would seem as if he must have seen 
Esther, previous to 1754. 

■'This was Fort Le Boeuf, on a branch of the Alleghany near Erie antl with- 
in the English province of Virginia. 


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The siege of Quebec began on the 12th of July, 1759. The 
cannonade of the 13th and 14th, proved that the convent must 
be vacated. Ei(rht of the sisters Qfot leave to remain in charo-e. 
Though there is no positive proof, we have a right to believe 
that Esther of the Infant Jesus, was one of the eight. With 
the fervor of a devotee, she had the force and the fearless- 
ness of the Wheelwrights. She was sixty-three years old, 
and the fifth on the list of choir nuns. 

At sunset of the 15th, [July 25, 1759, N. S.] the rest of the 
Ursulines, bidding a reluctant farewell to the courageous 
little band, sped swiftly down to the meadows of the Saint 
Charles, to seek shelter in the convent attached to the Gen- 
eral Hospital. The sisters of the Hotel-Dieu were there be- 
fore them. The Hospital, being out of reach of the projectiles, 
was the refuge of hundreds of people, fleeing in fright from 
the ruins of the Lower Town. 

Imagine the consternation and anguish of the next few 
weeks. The nuns at the Hospital were busy night and day, 
with the care of the maimed and dying of both armies. At 
intervals, the quick stroke of the convent bells calling them 
to their devotions, gave them their only rest. Above their 
prayers rose the groans of the wounded, the scream of shot 
and shell, the roar of flames and the crash of falling build- 
ings. In the gray of the morning of the sixtieth day of the 
ever memorable siege, the straggling file of red-coated sol- 
diers, clambered up the rocky steeps, and formed in line of 
battle on the Plains of Abraham. When the shadows of 
night gathered on that gory field, the Seven Years War in 
America was virtually ended, and the question whether France 
or England was to be master of this continent was forever 

On the morning after the battle, the gallant Montcalm 
breathed his last. The day was one of dire distress. 

Venturing from the narrow cellar of the monastery, where 


they had stayed out the siege, Esther Wheelwright and her 
companions gazed upon a desolate scene. In peril of their 
lives, and with great labor and fatigue, they had saved most 
of their windows. Their cells were demolished, their chim- 
neys battered and tumbling, their roofs charred and riddled. 

Confusion reigned everywhere. No workman could be 
found to make a coffin for Montcalm. Finally old Michel, 
factt)tum and general overseer at the Convent, the tears 
streaming down his face, nailed together a rough box from 
the debris of the bombardment. In this rude casket, at nine 
o'clock that evening, the Marquis de Montcalm was carried 
to his rest. 

Silence and gloom brooded over the city. "Not a drum 
was heard,— nor a funeral note." No gun was fired, — not a 
bell tolled. Men and women, wandering dazed among the 
ruins, fell into line with the little procession that bore the 
dead soldier from the house of the surgeon Arnoux to his bur- 
ial in the chapel of the ITrsulines. Two little girls stealing 
unnoticed into the church, stood by his grave, while by the 
flare of torches, the body of the hero was lowered into a hole 
in front of the altar, made by the bursting of a shell. The 
service for the dead was chanted by three priests. The quiv- 
ering voices of Esther Wheelwright and her sister nuns 
were heard in response, then sobs, repressed through all the 
horrors of the siege, burst forth, "for" says the annalist, "it 
seemed as if the last hoj^e of the colony was buried." 

Oeneral Murray, who was left in command of the English 
troops in Canada, repaired the Ursulinc convent, and quar- 
tered there a part of his wounded men. Esther Wheelwright 
and her companions cheerfully assumed the duties of Hospi- 
tal nuns, and the soldiers proved themselves truly grateful 
for the Christian charity thus shown them. Among the 
troops, was a vScotch regiment. The good nuns were so dis- 


tressed at seeing the strangers in a costume so ill suited to 
a Canadian winter, that they fell to knitting long stockings 
to cover the bare legs of the kilted Highlanders. 

On the 8th of September, 1760, the Capitulation was signed 
at Montreal. It secured to the Canadians the free enjoy- 
ment of the Catholic religion and to the Communities of 
nuns, their constitutions and privileges. The 15th of the fol- 
lowing December, Sister Esther Wheelwright of the Infant 
Jesus, was elected Superior of the Ursulines. Thus, strangely 
enough, at the moment of the establishment of the English 
Supremacy in Canada, the first (and last), English Superior 
of the Ursulines of Quebec, was elected. Her election is a 
proof of her robust health at this time, and of the confidence 
placed in her by the Community. That she was worthy of 
the trust, appears in all her acts.^ 

After the fall of Quebec, rations were issued by the con- 
querors for the subsistence of the people. The summer be- 
fore Esther's election, on the withdrawal of the soldiers from 
the convent. General Alurray had ordered that no more pro- 
visions should be furnished to the nuns, except for ready 
money. Such representations had been made to the General 
by Esther's predecessor in office, that the order was coun- 
termanded. In the spring after Esther's election, a bill of 
$1352.46, was rendered by the commissary for provisions fur- 
nished the Community from Oct. 4, 1759, to May 25, 1761. 

'In 1761, (ihe year following her election as Superior), one of her sister's 
sons, Joshua Moody, son of Mary Wheelwright Moody, visited her. "One of 
this sister's granddaughters was named Esther Wheelwright, and to her name- 
sake, the Lady Superior sent by Mr. Moody many presents, requesting that she 
might be entrusted to her care to be educated in the Convent. Of course, the 
Puritan parents were not disposed to gratify her in this respect. Among other 
things, she sent by Mr. Moody her own portrait painted in the dress of her or- 
der. This is still in the family, having been handed down with the name Esther 
from generation to generation." For the above I am indebted to Mr. Edmund 
Wheelwright of Boston, who is about to publish a history of his family. 

c. A. B. 


Mother Ivsthcr wrote at onee to Oeneral Murray, stating the 
inability of the nuns to pay the debt thus contracted; at the 
same time puttint^ at the disposal of the government certain 
of the Community's lands. "Nevertheless." she adds, "we 
hope that upon the representations which you will kindly 
make in our behalf, his Majesty will not refuse to absolve us 
from this debt. In our confidence in your goodness, of which 
you have hitherto given us the most convincing proofs, we 
assure you of our sincere gratitude, and of the respect with 
which I have the honor to be, &c., &c., &c." She might 
have hinted, that the shelter and care given to the wound- 
ed English ought to count for something towards the 
payment of the debt. In the interval of suspense, while 
Murray wrote for instructions to England, Esther wrote to 
the Mother Community in Paris: "We shall try to do without 
everything, for, for some years we shall have to heap up the 
interest on our Erench possessions, to pay the King of Eng- 
land whom we owe thirteen hundred and fifty-two dollars." 

From the Capitulation at Montreal to the Peace of Paris, 
the lot of the French Canadians was hard. A sorrowful 
suspense, as to whether Canada would be restored to France, 
agitated all hearts. In 1761, Esther writes to the Superior at 
Paris, "It has just been announced to us that peace is made, 
and that this poor country is restored to the Erench. I hope 
it may be true." 

The non-arrival of letters from France, caused much anxi- 
ety. In October, writing again to Paris, she says, "Every- 
body of position is surprised not to hear a word by way of 
England, though many laymen have received letters. I 
can hardly believe, however, that some are intercepted, more 
than others." 

A later letter runs thus : "We shall very soon be in a con- 
dition not to be able to dress ourselves according to the rules. 
Since the war, we are especially in need of bombazine for 


our veils. Indeed the need is so pressing-, that soon we shall 
not be able to appear decently, having nothing but rags to 
cover our heads. We cannot buy these things of the Eno-- 
lish. They don't yet know how to coiffer the nuns. I think, 
my dear mother, you might send us a few pieces of bomba- 
zine by some of our Canadians, who must return to their poor 
country. M. de Rouville who was the bearer of your letters, 
would have considered it a pleasure to bring some bomba- 
zine to us, and could have done so without much trouble. 
There is plenty of food, but everything is very dear, and sil- 
ver is very scarce, never having been much current in Can- 

A courteous letter from General Murray to Mother Esther 
is extant, dated Jan. 2nd, 1764, thanking her for a "Happy 
New Year" she had sent him, and wishing her many in return. 
After Murray's return to England, the Mother Superior and 
sisters send him gifts of their own beautiful handiwork, which 
he acknowledges with graceful compliments and more than 
civil expressions of esteem and friendship. 

The first days of April, 1764, were spent by Mother Esther 
of the Infant Jesus, in profound retreat, to prepare herself 
for the festivities of her Golden Jubilee, (the fiftieth anniver- 
sary of her espousals as the bride of Christ,) which occurred 
on the twelfth of April, 1764. 

Nothing was omitted in the celebration of Esther's fiftieth 
year of religious profession as an Ursuline nun, to convince her 
of the love and appreciation of the Community. The chapel 
was beautifully lighted and decorated. After the public re- 
newal of her vows in the presence of the Bishop and a mul- 
titude of people, mass was celebrated with fine organ music, 
and much singing of motets. A sermon on the happiness 
of a religious life followed. At the close of the mass, the 
nuns, each with a lighted taper in her hand, sang the Te 
Dcuvi, accompanied by a flute and violin. The day was 


u-ivcn up to recreation and eoni^'ratulation. In the Refee- 
tory, there was feastint^^ and joyful conversation. The great 
hall was gay with llowers and gifts, and the children of the 
/<insioii, with song and dance, brought their offerings to their 
beloved Mother Superior. Late in the afternoon, a benedic- 
tion service was held, and the day ended wnth jubilant music 
of drum and fife. 

In her girlliood, T'sther had embroidered much for the al- 
tars. Seeing at this time the great admiration of the English 
for embroidery on birch bark, she encouraged this kind of 
work among the nuns, and gave herself up to it with incred- 
ible industry. 

In May, 1761, writing to the Procurator of the Ursulines in 
Paris, she says, "It is true that notwithstanding our misfor- 
tunes one need not lack the necessities of life, if one had 
plenty of money, but we have only what we earn by our birch 
bark work. As long as this is the fashion, the money we earn 
by it is a great help towards our support. We sell it at a 
high price to the English gentlemen, yet they seem to con- 
sider it a privilege to buy, so eager are they for our w^ork. 
It is really imj^ossible for us notwithstanding our industry, 

to supply the demand." "I should like to know," she 

continues, alluding to their indebtedness to the government, 
"exactly what will be left, after paying Captain Barbutt. Ac- 
cording to what you will do me the honor to write me on this 
point, we shall pay some debts here, — for we are not lacking 
in debts, and some pretty large ones. Nobody but myself, 
however, knows about them, and I am in no hurry to acquaint 
the Community with the fact, for fear of distressing them." 
This extract shows her self-reliance, and her tender consid- 
eration for her sister nuns, in sparing them anxieties which 
weighed heavily on her owm heart. 

Too constant use of her eyes, brouo'ht on in her deelinin<r 
years, weakness of sight and disease. When she could no 



From a fiaiiithig o>i silk ilone l>y Esther U'hi'c/zoright aiui si'ii/ to 
her mother by Joshua Moody 

i' 1 1 •^i/J 1 1, 
i i 1 1 . ■ Ip- ;, i *' 


longer embroider exquisitely, she busied herself with mend- 
ing the underclothing of the Community, showing the same 
skill and delicacy in darning and patching that characterized 
her more beautiful handiwork. 

For nearly seventy years, Esther Wheelwriglit fulfilled 
with fervor and fidelity, all the duties of a monastic life. No 
one was more scrupulous in the observance of all its rules. 
In the feebleness of age, as in the vigor of youth, — in sum- 
mer's heat and winter's cold, she was always in her place. 
In learning to obey, she learned to command. As a teacher 
of young girls, she was very successful. Her happy disposi- 
tion and sweet temper, made her example even more elo- 
quent than her precepts. With her, forbearance and gentle- 
ness, with the most charming politenCvSS, took the place of a 
stricter discipline, and never failed to win the love and obe- 
dience of her pupils. She was promoted to her responsible 
position as Superior, at the most critical epoch in the history 
of her adopted country. French in all her sympathies, — a 
Romanist of undoubted zeal, — yet, undaunted by embarass- 
ments to which a woman of less strength and breadth of 
character would have yielded, she so adapted herself to the 
exigencies of the situation as to win for herself, and the Com- 
munity, the favor and respect of the conquerors. 

In 1766, the rules of her Order not allowing her re-election 
for a third successive term, she was discharged, but again re- 
elected in 1769. She was then seventy-two years of age, — 
but her mind and heart never grew old. 

In 1 77 1, writing to the Mother Superior of Paris, vshe says, 'I, 
beg you to accept the assurance of our most tender attach- 
ment. I wish I could give you some proof of it, other than 
by words, but we cannot even find a way to send you those 
trifles from this country, which we used to take pleasure in 
sending you. In our prayers, you always have a large share. 
Pray for me that God in his infinite mercy may grant me a 


happy death." In October, 1772, it was feared that Mother 
Esther would not live till the December elections. She ral- 
lied, however, and on the 1 5th was honorably discharged from 
the superiorship, only to be made Assistant Superior, and six 
years later Zelatrix. 

At 8 o'clock in the evening- of the 28th of October, 1780, 
Esther Wheelwright died, at the age of eighty-four years and 
eight months. "She died as she had lived," says the annalist, 
"in continual aspirations towards Heaven, repeating unceas- 
ingly some verses of the Psalms 

Her ancestors were noble, but her heart was nobler still, 
and the memory of her virtues will be forever dear to this 
House From 171 2 to 1780, she was one of its finest or- 
naments and firmest supports." 

The name of Wheelwright is still reverenced by the Ursu- 
lines of Quebec. At the convent to-day, they tell you with 
pride of the gifts bestowed on them by Esther's cousin and 
fellow captive, Mary Sayer.^ 

The silver flagon presented by Major Wheelwright is still 
in use in their Infirmary, and the miniature of Esther Wheel- 
wright's mother, a blonde with hazel eyes and an oval face, is 
sacredly preserved. Retouched by the addition of a veil and 
drapery, and enclosed in a richly emboSvSed frame, containing 
also four relics of the Saints, it is now reverently cherished 
as a Madonna. 

I have been permitted to stand in the inner chapel of the 
Ursulines at Quebec, above the spot where the mortal part of 
Esther Wheelwright lies buried. 

My fondest ambition in writing this story is that in 
some hour of recreation, it may be read to the novices by 
the Mother Assistant, who entering the convent fifty years 
ago, found there as a nun, the little girl who saw the burial 
of Montcalm, and later was an inmate of the convent, during 
the last seven years of Esther Wheelwright's life. 

'See "Story of a York Family." 

From (I miniiitvre sent to her liixughter /is/Ziar i?i IJS-I 

■ u:>el- 
tace. is 
'm1 And 



One midsummer day in the year 1588,^ the duke of Medina 
Sidonia looked in at the Plym's mouth as he sailed by with 
the Invincible Armada to conquer England, and said to him- 
self in good Spanish, "When I shall have finished the business 
I have in hand, I will build me a lordly pleasure house on yon- 
der height and there I will take mine ease." 

Sir Francis Drake looked up from the game of skittles he 
was playing on the Hoe at Plymouth, and curling his mous- 
tache, as was his custom when angry, he said to his compan- 
ion, "I'll finish the game when I shall have clipped the wings 
of yonder brave bird." Whether Drake returned to finish 
his game history does not tell us. We are also left to infer 
that the Don's plaisance remained a castle in the air. 

Seventeen years later, on another midsummer day,^ some- 
body roused the Governor of Plymouth from his siesta, with 
the exciting news that George Weymouth had come into 
port with five Indians, whom he had kidnapped on the Ken- 
nebec river, in his otherwise fruitless voyage to New Eng- 

'July 20, 1588. ^JuJy, 1605. 


Sir Ferdinando Gorges, at that time Governor of Plymouth, 
was living there the listless life of a garrison officer. Into 
the gubernatorial mansion on the Hoe he took three of Wey- 
mouth's Indians, had them taught English and kept them 
three years. Did anybody ever compute the influence of 
these "three little Indian boys" on our history? They told 
him about the "stately islands," "safe harbors" and "great 
rivers" of their native land, and inspired him to plant a col- 
ony there. "This accident," says Sir Ferdinando, "was the 
means under God of putting on foot and giving life to all our 

Being a man of wealth, rank and influence, he easily se- 
cured the co-operation of Sir John Popham, Lord Chief Jus- 
tice of England. How the Popham colony, planted by the 
Plymouth Company in August, 1607, on the Kennebec river, 
starved with the cold the first winter, — how Jamestown, the 
offspring of the London Company, thanks to a milder clime, 
survived, — how Capt, John Smith, "a fugitive slave," as Mr. 
Palfrey happily calls him, after founding the Old Dominion, 
sailed up and down the New England coast, printed lavish 
praise of its resources, and made a map of all its capes, in- 
lets, islands and harbors, to which Prince Charles gave the 
familiar names they bear today, — how Gorges, not doubting 
that God would effect that which man despaired of, was a 
part of every scheme of colonization: — all this is known to 
every careful reader of our history. 

It was doubtless under the auspices of Gorges that the first 
English settlement at Agamenticus was made, and when in 
1635, the charter of New England was surrendered to the 
crown and its territory parcelled out among the patentees, 
Gorges received the territory between the Merrimac and the 
Kennebec, extending one hundred and twenty miles inland. 
With this province of Maine, the Crowm conferred upon him 
almost unlimited power and privilege. 


Mr. Bancroft says of vSir Ferdinando, "The friend and co- 
temporary of Raleigh, he adhered to schemes in America for 
almost half a century and was still bent on coloniza- 
tion, at an age when other men are but preparing to die with 
decorum Like another Romulus, this septuagena- 
rian royalist and veteran soldier resolved to perpetuate 

his name," and in 1642 the ancient Agamenticus became the 
city "Gorgeana," "As good a city," says Bancroft, "as seals 
and parchment, a nominal mayor and alderman, a chancery 
court and a court leet, sergeant rolls and white rods can make 
of a town of less than 300 inhabitants." 

In the King's patent to Gorges it had been expressly stip- 
ulated that Episcopacy should be the established religion of 
his province. 

In 1643 John Wheelwright, removing from Exeter to es- 
cape the bigotry of the Bay settlements, betook himself to a 
tract adjoining Agamenticus, which he bought of Gorges, to 
which he gave the name of Wells. 

The same year Plymouth and the Bay Colony made a league 
with Connecticut and New Haven for mutual protection. 

"Those of Sir Ferdinando Gorges his province were 

not received or called into the Confederation," writes Win- 
throp, "because they ran a different course from us, both in 
their ministry and civil administration, for they had lately 
made Accominticus (a poor village) a corporation, and had 
made a taylor the mayor, and had entertained one Hull, an 
excommunicated person, and very contentious, for their min- 
ister." Whatever may have been the faults and follies of 
Sir Ferdinando we cannot help admiring his persistence — his 
life-long devotion to the great idea of colonizing New Eng- 

In the civil wars Sir Ferdinando fought with the cavaliers 
and died before the execution of the King. The population 
of the ancient city was increased by the accession of a con- 


tingent of Scotch prisoners taken by Cromwell in his famous 
victory over Charles II, at Dunbar in 1650. These were 
shipped over seas to be sold as apprentices for a term of years. 
and naturally found a home in the plantation of the royalist 
Gorges. Scotland Parish is to-day a thriving and interesting 
locality of the old town, and the names of Mclntyre, Junkins 
and Donald still survive there. 

Old York is now New York. Many of its old-time houses 
have been drummed out by the so-called march of improve- 
ment. The straggling cottages of the fishermen have disap- 
peared from the landscape. The winding cowpath along the 
cliff, through bayberry bushes and sweet-briar roses, has been 
supplanted by the smooth-clipped lawns of costly seashore 
estates, packed in too close proximity to one another along 
the water front. The rugged face of the cliff, over which the 
woodbine and beach pea used to scramble, is now disfigured 
by the unsightly waste pipes of modern improvement that 
wriggle like so many foul serpents to bury themselves be- 
neath the ocean. Pretentious hotels and livery stables ob- 
trude themselves upon the moorlands, where the "fresh 
Rhodora" used to spread its "leafless bloom." 

College youths in yachting costume and city belles with 
tennis rackets, flirt harmlessly on the beach at bathing time, 
and in the late afternoon, the brilliant parasols of the gay 
butterflies of fashion flutter far afield, and prancing steeds 
with glistening trappings curvet over the rocky roads under 
the guidance of liveried coachmen. On Sunday, a crowd in 
silk attire, with gilded prayerbooks, wends its way to a little 
church whose golden cross towers aggressively above the 
rock-bound coast. 

"Behold!" cries the Puritan antiquary, "the fulfilment of 
vSir Ferdinando's dream." Then he turns away to the river 
bank, where to this day may be seen the veritable streets of 
the "Ancient city" as laid out by Thomas Gorges, its first 

I ->t »i 1 L I > III KL I I I I N < . ( 1 '1 1 i \N "w 1 I 111 1 i 1.^ 1 il I 1 1' 'I ^ - 

OS II. at Dunbar in 1650. These were 
1)0 sold as apprentices for a term of years. 

'- in the plantation o' '■ 'ist 

fo-day a thriving .! :r 

names of Mclr 

^sii-ape. iig the 

lushes and .- > been 



•It. Tl, ' thr- din. oVL-v 


')ul serpents to burs- themselves be- 
cntious hotels and livery stables oV'- 

n the PT '■.-.:.. ,,,1..-.,.,. .^ i .1, 

1 it^ "1. 

^hion fl 

.vers ai.' . a: 

i^.c'dold!" cri' . of 

it city" as laid out 


mayor. Pursuing his history, he reads that at Sir Ferdinan- 
do's death the people of Gorgeana wrote repeatedly to his 
heirs for instructions, but receiving no answer they, with 
Wells and Piscataqua, formed themselves into a body politic 
for self-government. 

In 1652, Massachusetts assumed control of the settlement, 
the city charter was annulled and Gorgeana, degraded from 
her commanding position as the first incorporated city in 
America, joined the rank and file of New England towns un- 
der the name of York. 

The alarm of Philip's war in 1675, extending to the east- 
ward, the distressed inhabitants built garrison houses against 
Indian attack. Two, known as the Junkins garrison and the 
Mclnt3^re garrison, were standing on a hilltop in Scotland 
Parish of Old York as late as 1875. Of the former not a ves- 
tige now remains, except a panel that forms a cupboard door 
in Frary house. 

The first blow struck by the enemy in the old French and 
Indian war fell upon the eastern towns. At the instigation 
of the Jesuit priests. Wells, York, Berwick, Kittery and others 
received their baptism of blood at the hands of the French 
and Indians, even before Deerfield, Hatfield, Northampton 
and Springfield. 

On the same page in the parish records of Canadian 
towns and villages, I have often found the deaths, marriages 
and baptisms of hapless captives, carried from the border 
towns of Maine and Massachusetts. This is why I tell the 
story of a York family. 

Edward Rishworth, or Rushworth as the nam^e is known 
in England, the friend and son-in-law of John Wheelwright, 
and his companion in exile, was one of the grantees to whom 
Thomas Gorges, nephew of vSir Ferdinando, gave authority 
to lay out and assign lots at Wells. 

In the history of both Wells and York, his intellectual 


ability is prominent. He was one of the commissioners of 
the newly made town of York and clerk of the court there the 
same year. 

In the prolonged resistance o( the Province of Maine to 
the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, Rish worth was prominent. 
His commanding intelligence and his personal influence in 
the province is shown in the humble petition of the leading 
men of Wells, in 1668, to be restored to the jurisdiction of 
Massachusetts, with apologies for their former disobedience, 
the petitioners assigning as the cause of their dereliction, the 
influence of Mr. Edward Rishworth, they "having been well 
affected with said Rishworth, and confiding in him." 

Rishworth was appointed Recorder for the province, in 
October, 1651, and held the office continuously, except in 
1668 and 9, for thirty-three years. In June, 1686, Rishworth 
wrote his last official line, being then an old man. 

The name of his wife, Susannah, appears on a legal paper 
for the last time in 1675. So far, I have found but two chil- 
dren of Edward and vSusannah Rishworth, daughters Mary 
and Susannah. Her grandfather Wheelwright, in his will 
dated Nov. 15, 1679, names "my son-in-law, Edward Rish- 
worth," and "my grandchild, Mary White, daughter of ye 
said Rishworth." This proves that Mary Rishworth, then 
about eighteen, was, at this date, the wife of one White. 

I assume that this White, and Rishworth's wife had both 
died before October, 1682, when, as he says, for "diver's good and more espetially for yt tender love and affec- 
tion which I beare unto my beloved daughter, Mary Sayword, 
wife to John Sayword," he conveyed all his property to his 
"sonn-in-law, John Sayword," for £60, to be used in the pay- 
ment of Rishworth's debts. 

At the same time, Sayword gives his bond, "to pay unto 

father Rishworth the just some of six pounds per Ann : 

to bee pay'd in good Mrchan'ble pay, boards, provisions, or 


such other goods as his ocations shal require to 

bee Delivered at Yorke at the house of sd John Say word which 

hee bought of ye sd Rishworth his father-in-law who 

is to have ye free uss of ye lower Roume hee now liveth 

in at his soole disposeing, as also to have his horse kept 

by sd John Say word, at Say word's charge and y t 

is to bee understood that sd John Sayword is to mayn- 

tain sd Rishworth with comfortable dyet, so long as he 

sees good to live with him And is to provide conven- 
ient fire wood for his Roume as his necessity shall require." 

"An inventory of the Estate of Mr. Edward Rishworth, de- 
ceased," dated Feb. 13, 1689, [sic] gives us approximately, the 
date of his death. On Feb, 25, 1690-91 [sic], Mrs. Mary Hull 
took oath that it was "a true Inventory of the Estate of her 
deceased father, Edward Rishworth." 

B}^ these three legal papers, we learn that John Sayword, 
millwright of York, was living in October, 1682, as the husband 
of Rishworth's daughter Mary, and that on the death of her 
father, either in 1689 or 1690, [see ante] this daughter, as 
Mrs. Mary Hull, attests the truth of the inventory of her 
father's estate. 

I, as yet, find no record of John Sayword's birth and par- 
entage. He may have been the son of Henry Sayword, a 
prominent man in the annals of Wells and York. Millwright 
is a common appendage to the names of Maine men of that 
period, for men must eat and be sheltered. The mill pond 
in York, where John Sayword must have ground the grists 
and sawed the lumber for the country round about, is well 

We have a grant from the town of York to John Sayword, 
dated Dec. 10, 1680, of three 20-acre lots of land with mill 
privilege and timber rights, conditioned on his building gal- 
leries and seats in the meeting house. 

"First that the Said Sayword, shall build or cause to bee built at 


ye meeting house at York, three sufificient Gallery?, with three con- 
venient seats in each Crallery and one beanch beside, in ye hyest 
Rowme in every gallery If the sd Conveniency of Rowme will bare 
it, the fronture seats, hee is to make with barresters, and two peyre 
of stayrs to go up into the gallerys, one for ye men and another for 
the wimine. Second : The sd John Sayword stands Ingagd, to seat 
the sd Meeting house below, with convenient Seates, too Seates to 
be barrestred below, one for men and ye other for wimine ; and re- 
payreing of ye defects yt are in the ould Seates, and by makeing 
and adding so many more new Seates, as shall be necessary for ye 
full and decent seateing of the whoole house. Which worke in mak- 
ing of Gallerys and seateing the lower part of the sayd house, is by 
John Sayword to bee done and finished at his own proper Charge, 
(nayles onely excepted) which the Town is Ingag'd to provide, very 
speedily, at or before the last of October next Insewing, Ann : Dom : 

There is a deed signed by Sayword, March 24, 1684, and 
also by "Mary Sayword, the younger." As I cannot suppose 
this to be his daughter Mary, (then only thirteen) it must be 
his wife, nee Mary Rishworth, who on this occasion signs 
herself Mary "the younger," to distinguish herself from his 
mother Mary, which again inclines me to the belief that John 
Sayword was son of Henry, whose wife Mary long survived 
him. John Sayword probably died early in December, 1689 ; 
for on Christmas Day of that year, which was neither a holy 
day nor a holiday with the Puritans, Mrs. Mary Sayword ap- 
peared and took oath to the inventory of her husband's es- 
tate, which was valued at ^^^85. 

She was administratrix, and with Matthew Austin, gave a 
bond for iJ"i66, for the lawful administration of her husband's 
estate. How soon after Sayword's death his widow became 
the wife of one Hull, does not yet appear, but as we have 
seen, she, as Mary Hull, testified to the inventory of her fa- 
ther's estate, on Feb. 25, 1690-91 [see ante]. Her connection 
with Hull must have been brief, for at the time of the attack 


on York, Feb. 5, 1692, Mary Rishworth, then but thirty-two 
years old, was living- with her fourth husband, James Plaisted. 
Of Plaisted's ancestry or antecedents, or of the date of his 
marriage to the young widow Hull, I have so far found 

Of the calamity at York, Feb. 5, 1692, Cotton Mather writes : 
"Great was the share that fell to the P'amily of Mr. Shubael 

Dummer He had been solicited, with many temptations to 

leave his Place when the Clouds grew Thick and Black in the In- 
dian Hostilities, but he chose rather with a Paternal affection to 

stay In a word, he was one that might by way of Eminency 

be called A Good Man He was just going to take Horse at 

his own Door, upon a journey in the Service of God, when the Ty- 
gres that were making their Depredations upon the sheep of York, 
seized upon this their shepherd; and they shot him so that they left 
him Dead." 

His wife, Susannah Rishworth, sister of Mary Rishworth 
Plaisted, "they carried into captivity," continues Mather, 
"where through sorrows and hardships among those Dragons of the 
Desart, she also quickly Died; and his Church as many of them as 
were in that Captivity, endured this among other anguishes, that on 
the next Lord's Day, one of the Tawnies chose to exhibit himself 
unto them [A Devil as an Angel of Light!] in the Cloaths whereof 
they had stript the Dead Body of this their Father — Many were the 
tears that were Dropt throughout New England on this occasion." 
Mather calls the York minister, 

"The Martyr'd Pelican, who Bled 
Rather than leave his charge unfed. 
A proper Bird of Paradise 
Shot, — and Flown thither in a trice." 

James Plaisted's wife was taken, with her two children, 
Mary and Esther vSayword, aged respectively eleven and 
seven, and her baby boy. This is Mather's relation: 

"Mary Plaisted, the wife of Mr. James Plaisted, was made a cap- 
tive, about three weeks after her Delivery of a male Child. They 


then look her, witli her Infant off her bed and forced her to travel 
ill this, her weakness, the best part of a Day without any Respect 
of Pity. At Night the Cold ground, in the Open Air, was her Lodg- 
ing; and for many a Day she had no Nourishment but a little water 
with a little Bear's Flesh, which rendered her so Feeble that she, 
with her Infant were not far from totally starved. — Upon her cries 
to God, there was at length some supply sent by her Master's tak- 
ing a Moose, the Broth whereof recovered her. But she must now 
Travel many Days through Woods and Swamps and Rocks, and 
over Mountains, and Frost, and Snow, until she could stir no far- 
ther. Sitting down to Rest, she was not able to rise, till her Dia- 
bolical Master helped her up, which, when he did, he took her Child 
from her, and carried it unto a River, where, stripping it of the few 
Rags it had, he took it by the heels and against a Tree dash'd out 
its Brains, and then flung it into the River. So he returned unto 
the miserable mother, telling her she was now Eased of her Burden, 
and must walk faster than she did before! " 

Was this infant the posthumous son of her third husband, 
Hull? He does not appear on the old York records among- 
the children of James Plaisted. 

A native poet has thus immortalized the attack on York: 

They marched for two and twent)' daies, 

All through the deepest snow; 
And on a dreadful winter morn, 

They struck the cruel blow. 

Hundreds were murthered in their beddes, 

Without shame or remorse; 
And soon, the floors and roads were strewed 

With many a bleedinj^ corse. 

The village soon began to blaze, 

To heighten misery's woe; 
But, (), I scarce can bear to tell, 

The issue of that blow! 

They threw the infants on the fire; 

The men they did not spare; 
But killed all, which they could find 

Though aged, or though fair. 


Our next meeting with Mary Rishworth Plaisted is at her 
baptism in Montreal. The following is a free translation of 
the Parish record: 

On the 8th of December, 1693, there was baptized sous condition, 
an English woman from New England, named in her own country, 
Marie, who born at York on the 8th of January O. S. 1660, of the 
marriage of Edouard Rishworth, and Suzanne Willwright, both Pro- 
testants of Lincoln in old England, and married last to Jacques 
Pleisted, Protestant of New England, was captured the 25th of Jan- 
uary O. S. of the year 1692 with two of her children, Marie Genevieve 
Sayer born the 4th of April O. S. 1681, and Marie Joseph Sayer, 
born the 9th of March O. S. 1685, — by the savages of Acadia, and now 
lives in the service of Madame Catherine Gauchet, widow of M. 
Jean Baptiste Migeon, appointed by the King first lieutenant gen- 
eral of the bailiwick established by his Majesty in Montreal. Her 
name Marie, has been kept, and that of Madeleine added to it. Her 
god-father was M. Jean Baptiste Juchereau, lieutenant-general of 
the Royal bailiwick of Montreal, and her god-mother, Madame Made- 
leine Louise Juchereau. 


Mary Magdalen Pleistead signs the record in a good hand- 
writing. So also do her god-parents, Juchereau and Madame, 
his wife, Catherine Gauchet, and finally Jean Fremont, Cure 
— all as clear as if written yesterday.^ 

Two lists in our archives tell briefly the story of the final 
separation of Mary Rishworth Plaisted from these Sayword 
children, one is the "Names of English captives Redeemed 
from Quebec by Math'w Carey in Oct'br, 1695," which con- 

'The information conveyed by this simple baptismal record is remarkable. 
It gives the date of the captive's birth, and consequently her age when taken; 
her mother's name, about which historians disagree, — the home of her fattier 
and mother in both Old England and New, — the fact of her marriage to Plaisted 
before her capture, — the dates of the births ot her daughters and by inference 
their ages, — the fact that previous to this they had been already baptized in 
Canada, and the names then given them — and, finally that the name Sayword 
had already become Sayer in Canada. 


tains the name of "Mrs. Mary Plaisted York." Another sent 
at the same time, is of "Those Remaining still in the hands 
of the French of Canada," and bears the names of the two 
sisters : 

Mary Sayard girll Dover 
Esth Swayard " 

In October, 1696, a year after Mary Plaisted"s redemption, 
vShe was "Presented at the court at Wells, for not attending 
ye Publick worship of God upon ye Lord's Day." 

The godless weaklings of our day might find palliating 
circumstances, without considering the hardships of her 
every day life, and the terrible experiences of her recent cap- 
tivity. Nevertheless, 

"Mr. James Plaisted, at the following court held at York, on the 
6th of April, 1697, appearing hi behalf of his wife, to answer her 
presentment for not frequenting ye Publick worship of God upon ye 
Lord's Day, she being under some bodily infirmity, hindering her 
own appearance, Is for her offence to pay 4s. 6d. fine, and to be ad- 
monished; ffees payd in court." 

In April, 1696, "Lycence was granted to Mr. James Play- 
stead to retayle bear, syder an victuals at his now dwelling 
house." This license was renewed from year to year. 

January 20, 1707, there is this vote of the town, from which 
it appears that the conditional agreement between the town 
and John Sayword had not been faithfully kept, by one or 
both parties : 

"Whereas, there is several differences between the Inhabitants of 
the town of York in the Province of Maine in the Massachusetts 
Government, and Mr. James Plaisted and Mary his now wife, the 
Relict of John Saword, all of said York, relating to work done by 

said John Sayword aforesaid, to York meeting house A referee 

shall be chosen by the town and another by Plaisted and his wife, to 
hear, and determine, all Differences." 


James and Mary Plaisted both sign an agreement on penalty 
of fifty dollars, to accept the result of the arbitration. 

Later "Wm. Sawer," [Sayword] and "Wm. Goodsoe" state 
that they "have looked over the matter and cannot agree and 
have left it out to Daniel Emery of Kittery to make a final 
end of the controversy." 

July II, 1 710, Capt. James Plaisted and his wife Mary, 
deed land together. Here, busied with the occupations of 
the yeomanry of the period in New England, active in church 
and state, respected and worthy citizens of old York, and in 
the prime of life, we will leave them and look for their two 
daughters, left behind in Canada. 

Many summers ago, in an idle hour and with no purpose. I 
copied a few pages from the old town records of York. It 
was long before I had heard of James Plaisted and his wife 
Mary Rishworth. The quaint spelling and simple directness 
of the language interested me, but it seems to have been by 
what Cotton Mather would have called a Remarkable Provi- 
dence, that this particular page of the record should have 
captivated me. 

A humble romance seemed to unfold itself in this step- 
father, willing to father his wife's children by a former mar- 
riage, though his own children, later born, are naturally put 
first in the record. Here is the story as it stands, written 
more than two hundred years ago on the old book : 

James Plaisted, Bearths of His children. Lydia Plaisted was 
Borne the fouerth day of Janervvary in ye year 1696. 

Olife Plaisted was Borne the first day of May in ye year 1698. 
Mary Sayward was Borne the fouerth April 1681. 
Susannah Sayward was Borne the ninth day of May 1683. 
Esther Sayward was Borne the seventh day of March 1685. 
Hannah Sayward was borne the twenty-one of June 1687. 
John Sayward was Borne second of Janerwary 1690. 


The last was evidently a posthumous child, the only son, 
born shortly after the death of his father, John vSayward, and 
named for him. 

We are now to follow the fortunes of Mary, the first born, 
and Esther, the third child of John Sayward and his wife, 
Mary Rishworth. 

On the parish records of Notre Dame in Montreal, with the 
baptism of their mother is a note interlined, in a different 
handwriting, and apparently written long after. This note 
records the indisputable fact that on the same day and in the 
same church, her two daughters were also baptized. As it 
was the custom of the church to add the names of saints 
to the newly baptized, Mary, the elder, then about thirteen, 
received the added name of Genevieve. Esther, the younger, 
lost her New England name entirely and was re-baptized as 
Marie Joseph, she being then about eight years old. 

In a list of the pupils of the nuns of the Congregation in 
1693, the name of one of the Sayer sisters appears. 

When we remember that the captives were in Canada dur- 
ing the most romantic period of the history of New France 
— that they saw daily those whose religious devotion has won 
them world-wide fame, truth seems stranger than fiction. 

A profound impression must have been made upon the 
sensibilities of all the young captive girls when Jeanne Le 
Ber, the only daughter of the richest merchant in Montreal, 
renounced the world and abandoned her family, to devote 
herself to a religious life. Marie Genevieve Sayer was, no 
doubt, perfectly familiar with the face of the young devotee, 
and witnessed her voluntary incarceration in the cell which 
she had had built for her, behind the altar in the chapel of 
the Congregation. 

At five o'clock on the evening of Aug. 5, 1695, after ves- 
pers, M. DoUier de Casson, with all his clergy in splendid 
attire, went to the house of the Seigneur Le Ber, whence. 


chanting psalms and prayers, they marched in procession. 
Behind them came the young Jeanne Le Ber. She was robed 
in gray, with a black girdle. Her father, pale with weeping, 
accompanied her, followed by all their friends and relatives. 

The people who thronged the streets, awe-struck at the 
unusual spectacle, could not restrain their sobs. To them the 
act about to be consummated, seemed like a living death to 
both father and child. On arriving at the chapel the recluse 
fell upon her knees, while M. Dollier blessed her little cell 
and spoke to her a few words of counsel. 

Her heart-broken father, unable to bear the sight, fled 
weeping from the spot. But Jeanne Le Ber, with tearless 
eyes and steady hand, firmly closed the door upon herself 

Three years later, Mary Sayer must have been present at 
a happier scene, in the same little chapel at what we may 
consider the permanent establishment of the order of the 
Nuns of the Congregation in Montreal. The three years of 
anxiety, discussion and delay were ended. The rules of the 
order had been the day before, "solemnly accepted and signed 
by all the Community." Now, on the morning of the 25th 
of June, 1698, the religious world of Villemarie had assem- 
bled to witness the performance of "that article of the regu- 
lations which prescribed the simple vow of poverty, chastity, 
obedience and the teaching of little girls." 

There were the most distinguished of the Sulpitian priests, 
conspicuously the zealous and scholarly Father Meriel. 
There was the Vicar-General, Dollier de Casson, "tall and 

portly, a soldier and a gentleman — albeit a priest As 

pleasant a father as ever said Bcjiedicite,'" says Mr. Parkman. 
There was the great bishop, Saint- Vallier — dominant, a pas- 
sionate extremist, believing in himself and impatient of con- 
tradiction — fulminating in those days as sharply against the 


"big sleeves" and "low-necked dresses" of Quebec damsels 
as the sternest Puritan of the period, in Boston. 

Perhaps a shade of disapointment clouded the brow of the 
haughty prelate at his failure to force the cloister upon the 
ladies of the Congregation; perhaps also a corresponding 
elation on the face of Marguerite Bourgeois at the success of 
her passage at arms with that almost indomitable will. 

Well might she have said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy ser- 
vant depart in peace." However this may be, the hour was 
one of peace and joy for the Sisters, as one after the other, 
each pronounced her vows and received from the bishop the 
name of some noted saint or martyr, by which thereafter she 
was to be known. 

The fact that the name of Marie des Anges does not ap- 
pear in the list of those who took part in this solemn cere- 
mony seems to prove that Marie Genevieve Sayer had not 
yet completed the two years of preparation necessary be- 
fore assuming all the rights and duties of a convent life, but 
was still living under the direction of the Maitresse des No- 
vices. She was then about eighteen, and must soon after 
have taken up the full duties and responsibilities of her 
office; for, although the name of her sister appears often on 
Montreal records, her own is seen no more after the baptism 
of her mother in 1693. 

The years following her novitiate were busy ones for the 
nuns of Canada. Up and down the St. Lawrence, missions 
had been early founded by the Sisters of the Congregation. 
With incredible fatigue, but untiring zeal, Marguerite Bour- 
geois had gone back and forth between Montreal and Quebec, 
often in winter creeping prostrate over frozen streams or 
wading knee-deep in the icy water. 

The Mission of the Mountain was removed to vSault au 
Recollet. vSoeur Marie des Anges, (the captive Marie Gene- 
vieve Sayer) was there at the head of the Mission School for 


girls, and the Deerfield captive, Abigail Nims, among others 
was there under her care.^ 

The missions at Quebec were, for many reasons, of special 
importance, and the choice of the New England captive for 
that place, shows the esteem in which Marie Geneviove Sayer 
was held by her sister nuns. Only those "distinguished by 
their merits, by their courage, prudence and ability," were 
appointed. Though the records thereafter are silent con- 
cerning her, it would be easy to read her story between the 
lines that record the labors of the successors of Marguerite 
Bourgeois between 1698 and 171 7 at Quebec. 

While looking for Deerfield captives at Quebec, the word 
Angloisc in the margin of the record, led me to the follow- 
ing, — only this and nothing more: 

"The 28th of March, 17 17, was buried in the Parish Church, Sis- 
ter Marie des Anges, a mission sister of the Congregation, who died 
the same day, aged about 36 years. The burial was made by me, the 
undersigned priest. Vicar of the Parish, Canon of the Cathedral, in 
presence of M. Glandelet, Dean, and M. Des Maizerets, precentor 
of said Cathedral." 

So, far from kith or kin, Mary Rishworth's eldest daughter 
slept her last sleep, after a short, eventful and useful life. 

The policy of the Canadian government was to keep as 
many of our captives as possible, especially those of leading 
New England families, to make good Catholics of them, and 
finally to wed them either to the church or state. 

Esther Say ward, whom we know in Canada as Marie Joseph 
Sayer, was educated by the nuns of the Congregation, and 
probably remained under their protection till her marriage. 
Naturalization was granted her in May, 17 10. 

On the 5th of January, 17 12, in the parish church of Mon- 
treal, "in presence of many relatives and friends of the par- 
ties," she was married to the Seigneur Pierre de L'Estage, 

^See "The Two Captives." 


merchant, of Montreal. The fact that the three banns were 
dispensed with, hints that ambassadors from our government, 
concerning an exchange of prisoners, were then in Canada, 
and it was thought best speedily to clip the wings of this 
captive bird. 

Marie Joseph, the first child of Pierre de L'Estage and 
Marie Joseph Sayer, was born October i, 171 2. The child's 
godmother was "Marie hardin," who "could not sign the rec- 
ord, on account of her great age." This child died at the 
age of four. Jacques Pierre, the second child, was born and 
baptized Aug. 5, 17 14. Its godparents were Jacques Le Ber, 
Seigneur de Senneville, and Madame Repentigny. In the 
record the father is called "Monsieur Pierre Lestage, Mar- 
chand Bourgeois of this city and treasurer for the king." 
In 1 7 1 5, he became the owner of the Seigniory of Berthier, op- 
posite Sorel, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. 

To the kindness of Rev. Pere Moreau, cure of Notre Dame 
des Monts, county of Terrebonne, antiquary, savant and 
author of the History of Berthier, I am indebted for the fol- 
lowing : 

"Pierre de Lestage built the first Catholic church of Ber- 
thier, about 1723, and obtained on Dec. 3, 1732, from Gov- 
ernor Beauharnois and the Intendant Hocquart, a great ad- 
dition to his Seigniory because, as is said in the deed; 'he 
was worthy of it.' " 

He also improved the highways, and built at Berthier a 
saw mill, a gristmill and a fine mansion for himself with a 
grand avenue leading thereto, which still exist. His friend 
M. Louis Lepage, Vicar-general of Quebec, and Seigneur of 
Terrebonne, having founded there the parish of St. Louis, 
built for it a stone church, to which he gave a chime of bells 
and invited his friend De L'Estage to be godfather at the 
ceremony of the blessing of the bells. 

At eight o'clock in the morning of the 21st of December, 


1 743, at the age of sixty-three, the Sieur de L'Estage, husband 
of Marie Joseph Saver, died in Montreal. The next day his 
body was carried to the church of Notre Dame, where a sol- 
emn mass was said. From there it was borne to the church 
of the Recollet fathers, and buried. 

Father Moreau writes that "he left his wealth jointly to his 
widow, Marie Joseph Esther Sayer, to his sister living in 
Bayonne, France, and to a nephew of the same place." 

The death of her husband and children was a severe blow 
to Madame de L'Estage. She naturally turned for sympathy 
and consolation to her beloved nuns, who had befriended her 
girlhood. Doubtless by their advice, she purchased a house 
adjoining the convent and adopted two girls whom she edu- 
cated at the convent. They afterwards became nuns, and 
were known as Soeurs Sainte Basile and Sainte Pierre. The 
ladies of the convent having permitted Madame de L'Estage 
to cut a door between the two houses, she spent the recrea- 
tion hours with her adopted children in the convent. One 
of these daughters died at the age of twenty-five, the other 
at eighty. Affliction and increasing age led her to sell the 
Seigniory of Berthier in February, 1765. for a life annuity of 
1500 livres,^ which, with an annual income from her husband's 
estates in France, handsomely supplied her wants. Tender- 
ly cared for by the Sisters of the Congregation, she as "per- 
petual pensioner," spent with them peacefully and happily 
the remainder of her days. The loving hands of those who 
so long had ministered to her needs, closed her eyes at the 
last. The date of her death is as yet unknown to me. She 
was buried near her beloved Sisters of the Congregation, 
under the chapel of St. Anne in the old church of Notre 
Dame, which stood in the middle of what is now Notre Dame 
St., opposite the present cathedral. There, all that was mortal 
of the New England captive, Marie Joseph Esther Sayer, 

'Two hundred and fifty dollars. 


rested, until about 1830, when all who had been buried under 
the old church, were removed to the Cemetery of the Cote 
St. Antoine. 

Again exhumed before 1866, they now rest in the present 
Cemetery at Cote des Neiges, — the site of the former Ceme- 
tery of the Cote St. Antoine being now occupied by Domin- 
ion Square and its fine surroundings. 

She gave to the convent most of her household goods. 
among them elegant candelabra and other articles of silver. 

Some of her bequests escaped the successive conflagrations 
from which the Convent has suffered. Among other things, 
a chest of drawers, arm chairs, silver snuffers and tray, and 
some exquisite embroidery. 

The Cure, who has been kindly interested in this little 
sketch, writes me as follows : 

"Indeed with her mother and sister she was greatly tried 
at the time of their captivity, but it was the way God judged 
proper to lead her to a religion, which they thought after- 
wards to be the only one able to lead men to eternal happi- 
ness, and for them to a suitable establishment." 



"The Independent Church," says a recent writer, "'prepared 
the way for the Independent vStates, and an Independent Na- 
tion." The most superficial reader of history, in this pre- 
eminently secular generation, cannot ignore the fact that 
"The corner-stone of New England was laid in the cause of 
religion," nor can he fail to note how often the accidents of 
man were the providence of God in the settlement of our 

When, to protect themselves against the lawlessness of a 
few of their number who were shuffled into their company at 
London, our forefathers signed the famous Compact in the 
little cabin of their storm-racked vessel, they builded better 
than they knew. Magnificent as have been the consequences 
of that simple act, to establish a democracy in America was 
not the purpose whereunto the Mayflower was sent. 

"What sought they thus afar? 
Thev sought a faith's pure shrine." 

Later, it was the religious zeal of "that worthy man of God," 
Mr. John White of Dorchester, England, and his fear lest the 


English fishermen on our inhospitable coast, might lack the 
spiritual food so necessary for the salvation of their souls, 
that dispatched Roger Conant to Cape Ann, sent John Endi- 
cott to Salem, installed John Winthrop as governor, with the 
charter of Massachusetts at the Bay, and settled William 
Pynchon at Roxbury. 

Their pious care to make plentiful provision of godly min- 
isters for their plantation, sent over Mr. vSkelton, Mr. Hig- 
ginson, and Mr. Smith, and brought Eunice Williams's an- 
cestor, John Warham, a famous Puritan divine of Exeter, to 
Dorchester. Their devotion to religion and their willingness 
to suffer exile for freedom to worship God according to the 
dictates of their own consciences, brought Thomas Hooker 
and Samuel Stone, as pastor and teacher, to Cambridge. 
This, too, led John Cotton, when driven by threats of the in- 
famous court of High Commission, from "the most stately 
parish church in England," St. Botolph's in Old Boston, to 
preach the gospel "within the mud walls, and under the 
thatched roof of the meeting-house in a rude New England 
hamlet," which, in honor of his arrival, took thenceforth the 
name of Boston. 

The same religious fervor, made the fathers of Massachu- 
setts determine that the rights of citizenship, and offices of 
public trust, should belong "only to Christian men, ascer- 
tained to be such by the best test which they know how to 
apply," — and however unwise, impracticable and unjust it 
would seem, in our day, to make the franchise dependent 
upon church membership, yet the bribery and corruption 
witnessed in our elections, and the moral unfitness of many 
of our candidates, make us wish that "not birth, nor learning, 
nor skill in war, alone might confer political power," but that 
to these we might add some test of personal character, of 
moral worth and goodness. 

We need to remember amid the dissensions that are agi- 


tating the religious world of to-day, that the Puritanism of 
the fathers, which to us seems the extreme of conservatism, 
was really the radicalism of their time. 

It is a curious study to trace the struggle between the old 
and the new, that began at the beginning and must endure 
to the end of time, as it is connected with the settlement of 
our state, and through that, with the history of our nation. 

However they may have desired "to transfer themselves 
to the fertile valley of the Connecticut, from the less pro- 
ductive soil upon which they had sat down," and whatever 
other motives they may have alleged for their migration, it 
is easy to see that the same desire for greater civil and re- 
ligious freedom, that planted the first settlers at Plymouth 
Rock and Massachusetts Bay, led to the removal of William 
Pynchon and his Roxbury neighbors to Springfield, of John 
Warham and his Dorchester flock to Windsor, of the Water- 
town church, with Henry Smith as its pastor, to Weathers- 
field, and of Hooker and Stone, with their congregations, to 

Still later, the radicalism of the majority of the Hartford 
church on the subject of baptism, extending to the church at 
Weathersfield, led to the settlement of Hadley by a small 
minority of the more conservative brethren of both parish- 
es, under the leadership of Governor Webster of Hartford and 
Mr. John Russell of Weathersfield. 

Another lesson of peculiar significance to us, at the present 
period of our religious history, is given in the fact that amid 
all their differences, our forefathers never lost sight of the 
common aim and purpose of their emigration, namely, "the 
advancement of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
the enjoyment of the liberties of the Gospel, in unity with 
peace," whereto they bear noble testimony in the preamble 
to the articles of Confederation, signed by the four colonies, 
in 1643. 


It could not be supposed that men professing "the propa- 
gation of the Gospel to be above all their aim in settling this 
plantation," would be long indifferent to the spiritual wel- 
fare of the savages around them. The conversion of the na- 
tives was early an object of their solicitude, but the obstacles 
were such as might have appalled the most enthusiastic zealot; 
and not until 1644, was the work begun in earnest. 

John Eliot, destined to become the Apostle to the Indians, 
on quitting the University at Cambridge, England, was as- 
sistant to Thomas Hooker, in a private school. Leaving his 
native country for the same motives that impelled other 
Puritans at that time, and arriving in 1631, at Boston, he 
there for a season supplied the pulpit of the absent pastor, 
and later was appointed teacher of the newly organized church 
at Roxbury. The missionary spirit, which prompted him to 
undertake the conversion of the Indians, was greatly aided 
by his natural fondness for philological studies, in which he 
is said to have excelled at college. Employing his leisure 
hours in endeavoring to master the language of the natives, 
at length, in the autumn of 1644, he preached in a wigwam 
on Nonantum hill, his first sermon in the Indian tongue. 
Some authority seemed to be given soon after to his under- 
taking, by an order from the General Court to the County 
Courts, "for the civilization of the Indians and their instruc- 
tion in the worship of God." 

The passage of such a decree was an easy task. What be- 
nevolence and fortitude, what faith, patience and courage 
were requisite to its execution, those who have read the life 
of Eliot know full well. From this time to the end of his 
long life, his labors for the Indians were unflagging. Having 
the good sense to see that they must be civilized before they 
could be christianized, he wished to collect them in compact 
settlements of their own. "I find it absolutely necessary," 
he says, "to carry on civility with religion." To quote his 


own words, he "looked for some spot somewhat remote from 
the English, where the Word might be constantly taught, 
and government constantly exercised, means of good sub- 
sistence provided, encouragement for the industrious, means 
of instruction in letters, trades and labor." 

About the year 1650, he found a suitable site at Natick, and 
the records of this period attest the pertinacity of his appli- 
cation to the General Court for the same, and its patient en- 
deavors to satisfy his demands, without interfering with the 
rights of those to whom these adjacent lands had already 
been granted. 

The inhabitants of Dedham having signified their willing- 
ness to further the plantation at Natick by a tender of two 
thousand acres of their land to the Indians, "provided they 
lay dow^n all claims in that town elsewhere, and set no traps in 
enclosed lands," the Court approving, in October, 1652, em- 
powered Capt. Eleazar Lusher of Dedham, and others, to lay 
out meet bounds for the Indian plantation at Natick. 

From this time, for several years, the records are occupied 
with the settlement of Natick bounds. Petitions from Ded- 
ham for relief from "affronts offered them by the Indians," 
and counter petitions from Mr. Eliot, "in behalf of the poor 
natives," concerning the monopoly by the English of the best 
meadow and upland, and encroachments upon the Indian 
grant, show that the task of adjustment was a difficult one. 
In May, 1662, the Court, 

"Finding that the legal rights of Dedham cannot in justice be de- 
nied, yet such has been the encouragement of the Indians in the im- 
provement thereof, the which added to their native right, which cannot 
in strict justice be utterlj' extinct, do therefore order that the In- 
dians be not dispossessed of such lands as they art at present pos- 
sessed of there, but that the same, with convenient accommodations 
for wood and timber and highways thereto, be set out and bounded 
by a committee appointed for that purpose, and that the damages 


thereby sustained by Dedham, together with charges sustained 
in suits about the same, be determined by the said committee, such 
allowance being made them out of Natick lands, or others yet lying 
in common, as they shall judge equal." 

One of the committee appointed "being disabled by the prov- 
idence of God," and the other utterly declining the work, the 
Court at its autumn session, 

"Being sensible of the great inconveniency that accrues to both 
English and Indians by the neglect of an issue to the controversy, 
elects others in their stead and orders that the work be issued with- 
in six weeks at the fartherest." 

June i6, 1663 — "For a final issue of the case between Dedham and 
Natick, the court judgeth it meet to grant Dedham 8000 acres of 
land in any convenient place or places, not exceeding two, where it 
can be found free from former grants, provided Dedham accept 
of this offer." 

At a general meeting, Jan. i, 1664, the town, as we learn from 

the Dedham records, 

"Having duly considered this proposition, their conclusion is about 

the 8000 acres, that the care of managing the same so as the town 

may have their ends answered, be left to the Selectmen now to be 


among whom were Ensign Daniel Fisher and Lieut. Joshua 

vSept. 21, 1664, John Fairbanks having informed the Select- 
men that Goodman Prescott, "an auntient planter and pub- 
lique spirited man of Lancaster," thinks it probable that a 
suitable tract of land is to be found at some distance from 
there, they depute Lieut. Fisher and Fairbanks to repair to 
Sudbury and Lancaster, and report upon their return. An 
item here occurring of "9s allowed Henry Wright for his 
horse for the journey to the Chestnut country, judging it well 
worth that," has reference to this expedition, and Nov. 6, 
1664, the committee reported that the tract of land where- 


of they had been informed, was "already entered upon by 
several farms, and altogether unable to supply them." 

It is precisely at this point that the history of Deerfield be- 
gins. I follow the records : 

"The Selectmen in further pursuance of this case concerning the 
8000 acres above mentioned having heard of a considerable tract of 
good land that might be answerable to the town's expectation, about 

10 or 12 miles from Hadley, think it meete in behalf of the 

towne to provide that the 8000 acres be chosen and laid out to satis- 
fie that grant, and that with all convenient speed, before any other 
grantee enter upon it and prevent us." 

Eight men or any four of them, "whereof Lieft. Joshua Fish- 
er is to be one," were appointed, "empowered and entreated 

to repayer to the place mentioned, to choose and lay 

out the Land according to their best discretion," each man be- 
ing promised "100 acres of land in full satisfaction for thier 

paynes, onely to Lieft. Fisher such other sattisfaction 

as shall be judged equal." Further progress in the work 
was prevented by the coming on of winter, during which 
some unwillingness seems to have been shown by the com- 
mittee, to undertake the business on the terms offered by the 

As appears from the record of March 20, 1665, the difficulty 
was amicably settled, when 
"Vpon further consideration of effecting the layeing out the 8000 

Acres, Lieft. Fisher declaring his disaceptance of w'^ was 

aboue tendered him, and his peremptory demaund being 300 

acres, it is consented vnto provided he allso drawe for the Towne a 
true and sufficient platt of that tract and Edw : Richards, Antho : 
Fisher, Junio'', and Tymo : Dwight, accept of the payem* formerly 
tendered, viz''. 150 achers to each of them." 

If Timothy Dwight be unable to attend to the business 
himself, he agrees to furnish Sergt. Richard Ellis with a 
horse for the journey, A report of this committee with 


reference to an accompanying plot, certified and figured 
as "layd out by Joshua Fisher, May, 1665," proves that the 
work was accomplished without much delay. 

The principle of Squatter Sovereignty by which men nat- 
urally at first possess themselves of lands in a new settlement, 
is as naturally set aside by the first attempts at corporate 
government. The land was granted by the General Court in 
townships, without prescription as to the manner of its ap- 
portionment among the inhabitants, and though persons and 
property seem to have had some consideration in the distri- 
bution, no uniform rule was observed in the different towns. 

Dedhain, at this period, was occupied by two classes of 
inhabitants, — landed proprietors, and landless residents. All 
the lands of the township, at first held as common property, 
had been divided into 522 cow commons, a name based upon 
the number of cattle then running on the common pasture, 
and by a somewhat arbitrary rule, a certain number of these 
shares assigned to each proprietor, with the understanding 
that his rights in all future grants of land to the township 
of Dedham would be proportionate to his proprietorship there. 
In the actual division of the Pocumtuck grant, however, there 
are 523 cow commons, one more than in the Dedham property, 
a discrepancy as yet inexplicable. 

After the allotment of the 750 acres promised to Lieut. 
Fisher and his three associates, for their assistance in laying 
out the grant, the remainder was to be divided into cow com- 
mons. The surveyors doubtless selected their tract on their 
first expedition, and their choice was made with great sagac- 
ity. It included about one hundred and fifty acres oi the 
very best land in the north meadows, situated as we believe 
from a careful comparison of allotments, in the region now 
known as Pogue's Hole, the Neck and White vSwamp. 

It may be a satisfaction to property holders there, to 
note the advance in real estate since Dec. 10, 1665, when 


Timothy Dwight, on condition that a plantation is effectually 
settled at Pocumtuck, agrees to resign all claim to his share 
for "5^; ; 2£ to be paid in money, and 3^; in corn and cat- 
tell," and Lieut. Fisher makes a similar offer of his rights, 
for "^4 in cash and £6 in corn and cattell," the only time, 
probably, when 300 acres of good land in Old Deerfield could 
have been bought for about fifty dollars. 

In the records, the surveyors' lands are spoken of as 
"Farms," to distinguish them from the cow commons of the 
other proprietors. On Jan. 22, 1666, it was voted, 
"That each proprietor's land shall pay annually towards the main- 
tenance of an Orthodox Minister there, 2s for each cow common, 
whether the owner live there or at Dedham; and all others that hold 
any part of the 8000 in proportion upon any other account besides 
cow commons, shall pay proportionately upon such lands as shall be 
laid out for the accommodation of teaching church officers there." 
The last clause refers to the Puritan custom of employing 
both a Pastor and a Teacher for the same church. 

Any man unwilling or unable to pay his tax for the minis- 
try, was empowered to sell his rights, at a price to be fixed 
by a majority of the proprietors, and in case no buyer could 
be found, the inhabitants of Pocumtuck were to take his 
rights at that price, or free him from the aforesaid tax. 

The bounds of the grant having been laid out in May, 1665, 
the next thing to be done was the extinction of the Indian 
title by a nominal purchase of their lands. A nominal pur- 
chase, I say, because remembering how all the fertile river 
lands from Suffield to Northfield, were purchased from the 
Indians for a few great coats and some hundred fathoms of 
wampum, I cannot quite agree with Dr. Holland, who de- 
clares that "All the land occupied by the settlers was fairly 
purchased of the natives." 

Mr. Judd, in alluding to the fact that Penn's bargain with 
the Indians has been rendered famous by the historian and 


poet, says "It would be difficult to tell why Penn's purchase 
is more worthy of renown than the purchase of Indian lands 
in Hadley by John Pynchon twenty years before." With 
less partiality than the former writer, he adds, "both bought 
as cheaply as they could," 

Let us cast no imputation on the general justice of the 
policy of the early settlers of Massachusetts towards the In- 
dians. Still it is noticeable that the very records of their pur- 
chases make complacent mention of the "Indian title in [not 
to] the land," and we admit that it was usually a bar- 
gain in which might made right, the simple wants and 
characteristic lack of foresight of the red man being no match 
for the ambition and shrewdness of the civilized white. Ma- 
jor John Pynchon of Springfield, (Worshipful John) in his 
double capacity of magistrate and trader, dealt largely with 
the Connecticut River Indians and effected nearly every im- 
portant purchase from them. The Sachems of the valley 
kept a running account at Pynchon's shop, buying from him 
wampum and other small merchandivse of which they stood 
in need, and pledging their lands in payment. 

He in turn transferred the Indian deeds to the white set- 
tlers, receiving from them money, corn, wheat and other 
standard articles of trade. The following items from Pyn- 
chon's account book is a small part of the debt of Umpacha- 
la, the Norwottuck Sachem, in payment of which he gave 
Pynchon a deed of the town of Hadley : 

"1660, July 10, 2 coats, shag and wampum, 5^; Red shag cotton, 
knife, 7s. July 30 to September 14, wampum and 2 coats, 5^" los; 
a kettle, \jQ 5s; for your being drunk, los." 

Thus for the vice of drunkenness which the untaught Pagan 
had learned from otir Christian civilization, we forced him 
to forfeit his home, and yet we boast of the fairness of our deal- 
ings with him. 

Major Pynchon, acting in behalf of the Dedham proprie- 


tors, obtained from the Pocumtuck Indians four deeds of 
land. Three of these are extant. 

The first, dated February 24th, 1665, is signed with his 
mark by Chaque, Sachem of Pocumtuck, who for good "and 
valuable considerations," transfers a large portion of the ter- 
ritory of his tribe, to John Pynchon for Major Eleazar Lusher, 
Ensign Daniel Fisher, and other Englishmen of Dedham, 
agreeing to defend the same from any molestation from In- 
dians, and reserving the right 

"Of fishing in the waters and rivers, and free liberty to hunt deer 
and other wild creatures, and to gather walnuts, chestnuts and other 
nuts and things on the cominons." 

The second, dated June i6th, 1667, is from Masseamet, 
owner of certain lands at Pocumtuck, who in conveying them 
agreed to "save them harmless from all manner of claims." 

By the third, dated July 22d, 1667, Ahimunquat, alias Me- 
squinnitchall of Pocumtuck, and his brother, devise and sell 
both Weshatchowmesit and Tomholisick "with all the trees, 
waters, profits and commoditys whatsoever," to the same par- 
ties to hold and enjoy, and that forever. The prosecution 
of this business was the chief topic of interest at Dedham. 

"June 6th, 1667, the Selectmen after consideration of the case 
respecting Pocompticke and the Information brought by those breth- 

eren lately upon the place, doe desire and depute them 

to make reporte in publike the next Lecture day after Lecture 

AUso that the Towne be made acquainted with the disbursm'*' of the 
Worp^"" Cap' Pinchion in purchasing the Indians Right at Pocomp- 
ticke who haue declared that he haue allready layed out 

about 40;^ and is yet in prosecution of compleating that worke, and 
by word and writeing haue exp'ssed his desire to be reimbursed, the 
payem*^ he desire is money, wheate and porke and wee would desire 
the Towne to remember and gratifie his paynes." 

October 2d, 1667, a rate was laid to pay Capt. Pynchon the 
sum disbursed for Pocumtuck land, wherein 4s was assessed 


upon each cow common, reckoning- 14 acres or thereabouts 
to each common, and an equal assessment, acre for acre on 
the "farms" of the surveyors. 

The list of proprietors at this time numbers sixty Dedham 

The deeds, meanwhile, having been delivered to Eleazar 
Lusher, by whom they were deposited in Deacon Aldis's 
box, — at a general meeting of the proprietors, September 
29th, 1669, 96^^, I OS were ordered raised to pay Capt. Pyn- 
chon, (the first assessment evidently not having been collect- 
ed), by an assessment of 3s 4d on each cow common, the 750 
acres constituting the farms of the surveyors being rated at 
54 commons, showing thus an estimate of about 14 acres to a 

This list contains the names of eighty-four proprietors, prov- 
ing that the fever of speculation in Deerfield land was spread- 
ing in Dedham. Among several transfers of rights recorded, 
is the purchase of Anthony Fisher's 1 50 acres by Gov. Lev- 
erett, who sold it again to John Pynchon "for £<^ current mon- 
ey and several barrels of tar," in the manufacture of which 
Springfield was largely engaged. Permission was also grant- 
ed in 1668, to Lieut. Fisher, to sell a part of his rights to John 
Stebbins of Northampton, ancestor of the Stebbins family of 

On May loth, 1670, a committee of the proprietors, assem- 
bled to fix a time for drawing lots and settling proprieties at 
Pocumtuck, order notice to be given of a meeting of the pro- 
prietors for that purpose, at the meeting house in Dedham 
at seven o'clock in the morning of the 23d instant. 

"The proprietors by Grant or purchase," assembled accord- 
ing to appointment on the morning of May 23d, 1670. At 
this meeting 

"It is agreed that an Artist be procured vpon as moderate tearmes 
as may be that may laye out the T,otts at Pawcompticke to each pro- 


Three Hadley men, as being more familiar with the situa- 
tion than the Dedham committee, were 
"desired to direct the artist in the work abovesaid, and empowered 

toorder the scituation of theTowne for the most conveaniencie 

the whole Tract, and the qualHties of each sort of Land, and other 

accomadacions considered It is allso agreed that no man 

shall laye out more than 20 Cow Commons rights together in one 

place. Joh. Pincheon is entreated and empowered to take 

his time to visit the Committee and artist and to giue them such 

advice as he shall Judge most Conduceable to the good of the 

plantation It is further agreed to proceed to drawe Lotts, 

and p'pare accordingly and that in every deuision of Lands of all 
sorts (except house Lotts) the length of the Lotts shall runne east- 
erly and westerly, and the begining of layeing out Lotts shall 

allwayes be on the northerly side and make an end on the southerly 
side " 

The meadow lands only, were allotted in this drawing, and 
a cow common represented three acres of land. The list of 
proprietors includes two women,^ and contains in all thirty- 
four names, among which are those of Samuel Hinsdell and 
Samson P'rary. 

During the summer succeeding this allotment, the com- 
mittee visited the grant, and laid out the "town plat," which 
they divided into the same number of commons and lots as 
the meadows, a common being smaller, as the area set apart 
for their homesteads was, of course, much less than that re- 
served for tillage. 

May 14th, 1 67 1, the drawing for house lots took place. 
On the 1 6th, the committee made a detailed report to the 
town of Dedham, of all their proceedings, and a most inter- 
esting document it is. It shows us the lots as they front 
east and west on the street, the meadow roads at the north 
and south, and a highway from the middle of the street, 

'Mary Haward. 
Mrs. Buncker. 


east and west to the mountain and river, nearly as we see 
them to-day. The lots were numbered in regular order, No. i 
being at the north end on the west side; but as the area of 
each man's house lot was proportioned to the number of cow 
commons of which he was proprietor, they varied in extent 
from one acre nine rods, to seven acres ten rods, and cannot be 
identified. Various circumstances lead to the conclusion, 
that lot No. 13, drawn by John Stebbins, was that now owned 
by Samuel Wells. 

The first and second divisions of the meadows were defined 
as they still appear, though we no longer recognize a curious 
distinction, borrowed doubtless from their salt marshes 
around Dedham, which they made between the lower lands 
on the river, called by them "the meadows," and "the more 
higher sort of lands," called "Intervale or plow lands." The 
report also furnishes the clearest evidence, that the country 
surrounding the meadows, (the east and west mountains, from 
Long Hill south, and from Cheapside hills north), was densely 
wooded, which is contrary to tradition. 

It must not be supposed that Deerfield was settled by a 
colony from Dedham, as Windsor had been from Dorchester. 
The thirty-four names appearing on the list of original pro- 
prietors of Pocumtuck, do not represent actual settlers. 

Robert Hinsdell and his son Samuel, Samson Frary, John 
Farrington and Samuel Daniels, are the only Dedham men 
appearing among the thirty-four original proprietors of Po- 
cumtuck, who ever became actual settlers iji Deerfield. John 
Stebbins, a Northampton man also on the list, settled here. 
The other Dedham proprietors sold out their rights. 

Robert Hinsdell, his son Samuel, and Samson Frary, 
were living in Hatfield just previous to the allotment of lands 
at Pocumtuck, May 23d, 1670, and very soon after that date, 
the two latter took up their abode in Deerfield. The report 
to which I have alluded, fixes these two men as the first set- 


tiers of Deerfield. In it, the street is described as extending 
"from Eagle Brook on the south to the banke or falling ridge 
of land at Samson Frary's cellar on the north;" and permis- 
sion is given to Samuel Hinsdell "to enjoy a percell of land 
on which at present he is resident, considering his expense 
on the same." 

The third settler, Godfrey Nims, came from Northampton 
to Deerfield in 1670, living there "in a sort of a house where 
he had dug a hole or cellar in the side hill," south of Colonel 
Wilson's. At the allotment of the homesteads in 1 671, he 
built a house, on what lot is not known. 

In 1672, the town of Hatfield, complaining that their north 
boundary was obstructed by the Pocumtuck line, it was ac- 
cordingly established where it now is. 

The same year Samuel Hinsdell petitioned the town of 
Dedham, to appoint a committee of suitable persons to regu- 
late the affairs of the new settlement. No heed being paid 
to this request, the petitioners renewed it the next year, urg- 
ing their distress by reason of their remoteness from other 
plantations. Either directly or indirectly, through Dedham, 
their prayer was heard by the General Court, which in 1673, 

"In ans'' to the peticon of , Samuel Hinsdell, Samson Frary 

&c, the Court allow the petitioners the liberty of a Township 

and doe therefore grant them such an addition to the 8000 

acres formerly granted as that the whole be seven 

miles square, provided that an able & orthodox minister w^''in three 

yeares be settled, and doe appointt Lef*. Wm Allys, 

Tho^ Meakins, Sen & Sergent Isaack Graues, w"' Lef Samuel Smith, 

M''. Peeter Tylton, & Samuel Hinsdell or any fower of them, 

to admit inhabitants, grant lands, & order all their prudentiall af- 
faires till they shall be in a capacity, by meet persons from among 
themselues, to manage their owne affaires."^ 

During the two succeeding years, this committee was not 

'M^ss. Records, IV. Part II. 558. 


idle. There were claims to be satisfied, and disputes con- 
cerning land titles to be adjusted. Among other grants 
was one of "20 Akars of land and Allsoe a hoame lott, 
to Richard Weler and his heirs forever : — of a hoame lott, 
and Allsoe a twelve common Lott of 36 Akars to Sergeant 
Plimpton and his heirs forever : — and to Zebediah Williams 
a house lott of 4 Akars : " on condition of their residing there- 
on for the space of four years from their first occupation. 
To Mr. Samuel Mather, the Dedham church lot was awarded, 
"and an 8 common lotte more in the most convenient place — 
48 Akars in all," on the same condition. 

In 1673, at the early age of twenty-two, he began his labors 
as first minister of Deerfield. He had been graduated two 
years before at Harvard, and was a nephew of the distin- 
guished Increase Mather, and cousin to the more learned Cot- 
ton Mather. 

In the fall of 1674, Moses Crafts, "was licensed to keep an 
Ordinary at Pocumtuck," — the word tavern or ale-house was 
offensive to our Puritan fathers, — "and to sell wines and strong 
liquors for one year, provided he keep good order in his 

Inhabitants came in gradually, men began to "stub up" 
their home lots, and the infant town, now known by the name 
of Deerfield from the number of those animals in its wood- 
lands, seemed in a fair way to a prosperous growth. 

The savages still hunted, fished, and fowled, in the woods 
and waters of Pocumtuck, maintaining entire friendliness to- 
wards the settlers. Often Goodwife Stockwell, cumbered 
with much care about the minister's dinner, would be startled 
at her work, by the dusky shadow of an old squaw gliding in 
at her doorway to bring her a mat or a basket, expecting a 
few beans or a trifle in return ; or the Indian hunter strode 
through the little village with a haunch of venison on his 
shoulder, to barter with Moses Crafts for tobacco or powder ; 


or his young wife, with her bright-eyed pappoose at her back, 
peered wonderingly in at the door of the little log meeting- 
house, while the young divine poured forth his soul in pray- 
er; and listened with pleased attention as the Psalms, dea- 
coned out by old Robert Hinsdale, were sung to the fine old 
tunes of York or Windsor. 

So, side by side, in peace, stood the wigwam of the savage 
and the cabin of the settler, in this valley, till the torch 
kindled at Swanzey by that "prime incendiary, Philip," as 
the historians of the time call him, set the whole country in 
flames. Driven from his throne at Mount Hope, the self- 
styled king, with a few followers, fled for aid and comfort to 
the country of the Nipmucks, his subjects or allies. 

A quaint writer says, with much gravity, that "about now, 
Philip began to need money, and having a coat made all of 
wampum, cut it in pieces and distributed it among the Nip- 
muck sachems ;" whereupon Drake remarks, that the coat 
must have been bigger than Doctor Johnson's, mentioned by 
Boswell, the side pockets of which, were each large enough 
to contain a volume of his folio dictionary. Doubtless Phil- 
ip's wampum and his wrongs, were freely used as incentives 
to the war, but at this period the quarrel was not one of 
individuals or of tribes. It was a struggle of races for the 
possession of a continent ; or rather, it was a war of the in- 
carnated principles of barbarism resisting the encroachments 
of civilization, the last rally of Paganism against Christian- 
ity. Philip or no Philip, sooner or later, the contest was in- 
evitable. In the Connecticut valley, the carnival of blood 
opened with the Sugar Loaf fight, in the autumn of 1675. 
The defection of the Pocumtuck Indians, with later events 
sadly familiar to all, followed in quick succession. The 
bloodthirsty savage lurking in the forest, sped his bullet 
with unerring aim to the heart of the settler, as he plied his 
axe for his winter's fire ; or creeping stealthily to the cabin 


whose occupants were wont to greet him with kindness, he 
tore the child from its mother's arms as she hilled it to rest, 
and with one blow of his tomahawk, silenced its cries forever. 
"A distressing sense of instant danger," pervaded every 
breast. The churches everywhere were before the Lord with 
humiliation and prayer, and pious preachers admonished their 
flocks, that their sufferings were directly chargeable to their 
sins. From the very midst of the alarm, Parson Stoddard 
writing to Increase Mather, at Boston, urges the need of a 
reformation. "Many sins," he says, "are grown vSO in fash- 
ion, that it is a question whether they be sins," and begs him 
to call the Governor's attention especially to "that intolerable 
pride in clothes and hair, and the toleration of so many tav- 
erns, especially in Boston, and suffering home dwellers to 
be tippling therein." "It would be a dreadful token of the 
displeasure of God," he adds, "if these afflictions pass away 
without much spiritual advantage." Mr. Mather, jotting 
down hastily for the printer, the intelligence that comes 
post from Hadley, moralizes thus: "It is as if the Lord 
should say He hath a controversy with every plantation, and 
therefore all had need to repent and reform their ways." 
"This sore contending of God with us for our sins," writes 
John Pynchon to his absent son, "unthankfulness for former 
mercies and unfaithfulness under our precious enjoyments, 
hath evidently demonstrated that He is very angry with this 
country, and hath given the heathen a large commission to 
destroy." And Minister Hubbard, from his Ipswich stud}-, 
where rumors come flying in of the untimely cutting off of 
the flower of Essex by Indian hatchet, groans out, "God grant 
that by the fire of all these judgments, we may be purged 
from our dross and become a more refined people, as vessels 
fitted for our Master's use." 

The inhabitants of Deerfield, warned by repeated attacks, 
had been driven from their homes and were huddled toofcth- 


er in two or three houses, poorly protected by palisades, and 
defended by a handful of soldiers. To the men, who with 
gun and sickle in hand, went out to harvest the fruits of their 
summer's labor, the smoke from some distant chimney was a 
terror, lest they should return to find the remnant of their 
little settlement in ashes. While as straggling bands of In- 
dians on their murderous errand passed near the forts, the 
women watched and waited within, in an agony of fear, lest 
some beloved one might not return at nightfall. The noon- 
day was thick with horrors, and a thousand phantoms of 
dread, haunted the darkness and silence of midnight. The 
wind shrieked and groaned through the forest, as if with pre- 
monition of impending disaster. To their frightened fancy, 
the patter of the autumnal rain, was the tramp of the ap- 
proaching foe, and the rustle of the leaves, as they sped be- 
fore the September gale, the final rush of their savage assail- 
ants. Compelled at last to seek security and shelter for their 
families in the better protected settlements, the men of Deer- 
field reluctantly prepared to desert the homesteads they had 
won with much toil from the wilderness. 

The last bag of wheat was at length filled, the golden corn 
lay heaped on the great ox-carts, the feather beds and other 
treasures of thrifty housewifery carefully disposed atop, and 
the march for Hadley began. The feeling with which they 
saw the day breaking over the mountain, as they wended 
their way through the meadows on that ever memorable 
morning, the i8th of September, 1675, was, no doubt, one 
of mingled relief that the long suspense was ended, and of 
resolute confidence that they should return in the spring, to 
occupy the fields to which they now bade a regretful fare- 
well. No foreshadowing of their awful fate, seems to have 
rested on their hearts. Joyfully their households awaited 
them at Hadley, joy turned all too soon to bitter sorrow, 
when the few that escaped told there, how the little stream, 


known before as Muddy Brook, had been baptized anew and 
consecrated forever, with the blood of eighteen of the sturdy ' 
yeomanry of Pocumtuck, and many a valiant soldier besides. 
Goodwife Hinsdale wept for her husband and three stalwart 
sons slain in the fight, and remembered with unavailing 
penitence, how the year before she had flouted his authority. 
Upon the ear of William Smead, mourning for his boy of 
fifteen, Mr, Mather's Latin ''Duke ct decorum est, pro patria 
mori,'' fell unheeded; and vainly did brave Sergeant Plymp- 
ton strive to hush the wailing of his old wife Jane, for Jona- 
than, the staff of their declining years, now lost forever. 

After the massacre at Muddy Brook, the garrison was with- 
drawn from Deerfield, and the enemy soon laid in ashes all 
that remained of that hopeful plantation. Some brave spirits, 
however, still clung to the hope of resettlement. These, exas- 
perated by the news, in the early summer of 1676, that the 
Indians, not only had their rendezvous at the Great Falls, 
where they were laying in large stores of fish for their next 
campaign, but were actually planting corn on the rich inter- 
vales of Deerfield, gladly volunteered, under the heroic Tur- 
ner, to dislodge them. By his defeat of the Indians at the 
Swamscott Falls,' Philip's war, so called, was virtually ended. 
A few months later, the pallid hands of that once haughty 
chieftain were shown as a spectacle in the streets of Boston. 
His ghastly head set up on a pole in Plymouth, afforded 
the occasion for a public thanksgiving, and the body of 
Weetamoo,^ his constant ally, more implacable in her resent- 
ment than even he had been, lay stranded by the ebbing 
tide, the once beauteous form now sodden and repulsive, the 
long hair, which the proud dame was wont to dress so care- 
fully, all knotted with sea-tangle, the features once so gaily 

'Ever since known as Turner's Falls. 

'Squaw Sachem of Pocasset married first the brother of Philip. 


adorned, all begrimed with the ooze and slime of Taunton 

The dispersion of their foes made the surviving settlers of 
Deerfield anxious to return there. The prospect of passing 
another winter with their families in the overcrowded dwell- 
ings of Hadley and Hatfield, was not agreeable to them, and 
they feared lest a union of the settlements might be effected, 
which would deprive them forever of their Pocumtuck heri- 
tage. Though the presence of prowling bands of Indians in 
the valley, made any attempt at resettlement hazardous, 
Quentin Stockwell would not be dissuaded from his purpose. 
Of Stockwell's previous history, but little is known except 
that he was from Dedham. There his name appears on vari- 
ous tax lists, from 1663 to 1672, when he removed with his wife 
to Hatfield, and thence the next year to Deerfield, where the 
Rev. Mr. Mather found a quiet home with them. That he 
was a man of energy and courage, appears from his being 
the only Deerfield man, who, in the autumn of 1676, dared 
begin to rebuild his ruined home. Driven from his work by 
the Indians, who burned his half finished house, he fled again, 
most probably to Hatfield, where, with other Deerfield peo- 
ple, he spent the winter. He was, however, far from con- 
tent. The birth of his child made him doubly anxious to 
shelter himself under his own roof-tree, and the next sum- 
mer he succeeded in persuading old John Plympton, Benoni 
Stebbins, and one or two others, to return with him to Deer- 
field, where the former had already built himself a house, 
eighteen feet long. 

It was the morning of the 19th of September, 1677. A 
year had passed since the close of the war, and the people 
of this valley, relieved of their apprehensions, were beginning 
to resume their usual occupations, when the shrill war-whoop 
rang through the frosty air, and a party of Indians, descend- 
ing with fire and slaughter upon Hatfield, ran thence with 


seventeen captives, mostly women and children, towards 

It was near sunset of one of those tranquil, New England 
autumn days, we know so well. Naught of melancholy was in 
the song piped by a belated August cricket, and the striped 
snake crawled from his hole to bask in the sunshine, as if he 
half believed summer had come again. The witch-hazel 
threw into the lap of October a wealth of blossoms, which 
June could never extort from her. A crown of gold, 
gemmed with opal and amethyst, rested on the brow of the 
western hills; the swamps were ablaze with the flame-colored 
sumachs. The mountain, already in shadow, seemed like 
some massive temple, where in stoles of scarlet and purple 
and gold, stood maple and oak and chestnut, like cardinal, 
bishop and priest, to offer a sacrament of peace. No sound 
in the woodlands, save now and then as a leaf rustled down 
softly and was silent. The squirrels as they frolicked 
among the branches, ceased their chatter, startled by the 
echo of Quentin Stockwell's hammer, as it was borne up from 
the valley. A light heart was in his bosom, for he thought 
how snugly his little family would be housed before winter 
set in, and faster fell the strokes as the sun declined. Near 
by, sat little Samuel Russell, watching with delight the great 
chips as they fell from under John Root's axe, when suddenly 
"with great shouting and shooting," the Indians came upon 
them. Dropping their tools, and seizing their guns, the men 
fled towards the swamp, where Root was instantly shot, and 
Stockwell after brave resistance, was at last overpowered 
and compelled to surrender or die. 

"I was now by my own House," says Quentin, "which the Indians 
burnt the last year and I was about to build up again, and there I 
had some hopes to escape from them. There was a Horse just by 
which they bid me take. I did so, but made no attempt to escape 
thereby because the enemy was near, and the beast dull and slow, 


and I in hopes they would send me to take my own Horses, 
which they did, but they were so frighted that I could not come 
near to them, and so fell still into the Enemies hands, who now took 
me, and bound me, and led me away, and soon was I brought into 
the company of other Captives, that were that day brought away from 
Hatfield, which were about a mile off; and here methought was 
matter of joy and sorrrow both, to see the Company ; some Com- 
pany in this condition being some refreshing, though little help 

Then were we pinioned and led away in the night over the moun- 
tains, in dark and hideous wayes, about four miles further, before 
we took up our place for rest, which was in a dismal piece of Wood, 
on the east side of the mountain. 

We were kept bound all that night. The Indians kept waking, 
and we had little mind to sleep in this night's travel. 

The Indians dispersed, and as they went made strange noises as 
of Wolves and Owls and other Wilds Beasts, to the end that they 
might not lose one another, and if followed they might not be dis- 
covered by the English. 

About the break of Day we Marched again and got over the 
great river at Pecumptuck River mouth, and there rested about two 
hours. There the Indians marked out upon Trees the number of 
their Captives and Slain as their manner is. Now was I again in 
great danger ; A quarrel arose about me, whose Captive I was, for 
three took me. I thought I must be killed to end the controversie, 
so when they put it to me whose I was, I said three Indians took 
me; so they agreed to have all a share in me. I had now three 
Masters, and he was my chief master who laid hands on me first, 
and thus was I fallen into the hands of the very worst of all the 
Company; as Ashpelon the Indian captain told me; which captain 
was all along very kind to me, and a great comfort to the English. 
In this place they gave us some Victuals which they had brought 
from the English. This morning also they sent ten Men forth to 
Town to bring away what they could find, some Provision, some 
Corn out of the Meadow they brought to us upon Horses which they 


had there taken. From hence we went up about the Falls, where we 
crossed that River again, and whilst I was going, I fell right down 
lame of my old Wounds that I had in the War, and whilst I was 
thinking I should therefore be killed by the Indians, and what 
Death I should die, my pain was suddenly gone and I was much en- 
couraged again." 

As they recrossed the river at Peskeompskut Falls, the Hat- 
field captives remembered with satisfaction, how Benjamin 
Waite had piloted brave Turner to his great victory at this 
very spot; and a gleam of hope cheered their hearts at the 
thought, that he would not be less active in the pursuit of the 
foe, who now bore his helpless wife and children into cruel 
captivity. Stockwell continues, 

"We had about eleven horses in that Company, which the Indians 
used, to carry Burthens, and to carry Women. It was afternoon 
when we now crossed that river. We travelled up it till night, and 
then took up our Lodging in a dismal place, and were staked down and 
spread out on our backs; and .so we lay all night, yea so we laid 
many nights. They told me their Law was, that we should lie so 
nine nights, and by that time, it was thought we should be out of 
our knowledge. The manner of staking down was thus : our Arms 
and Legs stretched out were staked fast down, and a Cord about 
our necks, so that we could stir no wayes. The first night of stak- 
ing down, being much tired, I slept as comfortable as ever. The 
next day we went up the river, and crossed it and at night lay in 
Squakheag meadows, and while we lay in those meadows, the In- 
dians went a-hunting, and the English army came out after us." 

Dividing into many companies to elude pursuit, they again 
crossed the river. About thirty miles above Northfield they 
re-crossed it to the west, and being quite out of fear of the 
English, lay there encamped about three weeks. On this 
last march Stockwell's three masters went off to hunt, leav- 
ing him with only one Indian, who fell sick, so that as he says, 

"I was fain to carry his Gun and Hatchet, and had opportunity and 


had thought to have dispatched him, and run away, but did not, for 
that the English Captives had promised the contrary to one another, 
because if one should run away, that would provoke the Indians, and 
indanger the rest that could not run away." 

Life was dear to him, escape was easy, the thought of his 
child sorely tempted him to try it, but he remembered that 
if one should run away it would endanger the rest, and re- 
sisted. No knightlier deed was ever done. Not the dying 
Sidney putting aside the proffered cup of water from his fe- 
vered lips, more deserves our reverence, than Quentin Stock- 
well refusing liberty, and life for aught he knew, lest his 
gain might prove another's loss. While encamped here, 
Stockwell says, 

"they had a great Dance, (as they call it), concluded to burn three 
of us and had got Bark to do it with, and as 1 understood afterwards, 
I was one that was to be burnt, Sergeant Plimpton another, and 
Benjamin Wait his wife the third: though I knew not which was to 
be burnt, yet I perceived some were designed thereunto, so much I 
understood of their language: that night I could not sleep for fear 
of next dayes work, the Indians being weary with that Dance, laid 
down to sleep, and slept soundly. The English were all loose, then 
I went out and brought in Wood, and mended the fire, and made a 
noise on purpose, but none awaked, I thought if any of the English 
would wake, we might kill them all sleeping, I removed out of the 
way all the Guns and Hatchets; but my heart failing me, I put all 
things where they were again. The next day when we were to be 
burnt, our Master and some others spake for us, and the Evil was 
prevented in this place." 

The tale is simply told, but no rhetoric could add to its 
pathos. The frightful orgies, whose dolor, says an e5^e wit- 
ness, "no pen though made of harpy's quill, could describe;" 
the council fire and hellish pantomime, by which Quentin un- 
derstood that some were destined to the stake; the savage 
brutes at length satiated with rioting, heavy and stupid with 
sleep, their usual precautions forgotten; the lonely watcher. 


his soul racked with torturing anguish, meditating- on the 
chances of escape; his desperate resolution to attempt it, and 
noisily replenishing the fire with the double purpose of test- 
ing the vigilance of his foes and the wakefulness of his 
friends; cautioUvSly removing the weapons, where they may 
be ready for his purpose, and then, as hope dies within his 
breast, as carefully replacing them, with the despairing con- 
sciousness that failure would only hasten the captives' doom, 
with never once a thought of leaving them to their fate and 
seeking safety for himself in flight, — all this is pictured with 
awful vividness. 

At this period, there was trouble between the Mohawks and 
the Christian Indians, on account of the neglect of the latter 
to pay their customary tribute to the warlike lords of the Mo- 
hawk valley. 

Six Mohawks, fully armed, had been seized near Boston 
while hunting, and thrown into prison by the authorities there. 
A party of Mohawks with a scalp, and two Natick squaws as 
captives, having passed through Hatfield on the very day be- 
fore the assault upon that town, the opinion prevailed that it 
was made by them. Distracted with grief, Benjamin Waite, 
one of the bereaved husbands, hastened immediately to Al- 
bany to demand redress, but returned with the assurance 
that the New York Indians were innocent of the affair. A 
fortnight had elapsed since the capture, and the distressed 
people of Hatfield could learn nothing of the fate of their 
friends, when Benoni Stebbins, having escaped from his cap- 
tors, returned with definite information concerning them. 
His relation as given by himself to the Northampton post- 
master, October 6th, 1667, is a curious document. He states 
that his captors were 

"river Indians, Norvvattucks, save only one Narragansett, twenty- 
six in all, eighteen fighting men, two squaws, the rest old men and 
boys; that they came from the French whither they had fled at the 


end of the war, and intended to return there again to sell the cap- 
tives, having been encouradged that they should have eight pounds 
apiece for them." 

They also gave Stebbins the comforting assurance that the 
French Indians intended "to come with them the next time, 
either in the spring or winter, if they had sucses this time." 
The party having encamped thirty miles above Northfield, as 
we have already seen by Stockwell's narration, a part of the 
company was sent to "Watchuset hills to fetch away some 
Indians that had lived there through the war," Stebbins 
accompanied them, and having been sent out with two 
squaws and a mare to pick huckleberries, he says he "got up- 
on the mare and rid till he tired the mare, and then run on 
foot and so escaped to Hadley, being two days and a half 
without vituals." 

Wachusett hills, as often spoken of by the historians of 
Philip's war, included a much wider geographic extent than 
in our day. The expedition alluded to is mentioned in Pyn- 
chon's letter which follows, as having been made to "Nasha- 
way Ponds." 

Simultaneously with the attack upon Hatfield, Wonaloncet, 
a Merrimac sagamore, always peaceable and friendly toward 
the English, a praying Indian, in whose wigwam Mr. Eliot 
often held meetings, was spirited away with some of his peo- 
ple, by Indians from Canada, and never permitted to rettirn. 
It is quite possible that the detachment accompanied by 
Stebbins was sent to seek this very party. Intelligence of 
Stebbins's return was forwarded immediately to Major Pyn- 
chon at Springfield, who at once despatched the following 
letter to Albany, in the hope of inducing the Mohawks to 
undertake the recovery of the other captives. 

"These for his honored ffriend Capt. Salisbury, Commander-in- 
Chiefe at ffort Albany — Hast, Post Hast, for his Majestie's special 


Springfield, Oct. 5, 1677. 
Capt. Salisbury — 

lVo?-t/iy Sir: — 

Yesterday morning I rec'd 
yo'r kind linis by Benj. Waite, whereby I understand yo'r sympathy 
with us in o'r sad disaster by ye Indians: and yo'r readiness in mak- 
ing greate Inquiries, and greate foirwardness to do what Possible 
lyes in you for us, w'ch I have abundant cause to acknowledge, and 

do most thankfully accept and as to your opinion of the 

Maquas being free, and assuring nie of their innocency, I do fully 
concur with you, having satisfaction fr'm what you wrote, and from 
Benj. VVaite's relation. But to put it out of all doubt, God in His 
Providence hath sent us one of o'r captivated men, Benoni Stebbins 

by name, w'ch is ye occasion of these lines to yo'rselt So 

desire ye to put ye Maquas upon Psueing their and our enemys, there 
being greate likelihood of their overtaking them. Benoni Stebbins 
came into Hadley last night in ye night, whose relation was sent to 
me, w'h being but an hour since I had it, I Psently resolved upon 
sending Post to you." 

Then follows a minute account of the capture and flight 
toward Canada with Stebbins's escape. 

"He says," continues Pynchon, "that one of the Indians from Nash- 
away Ponds, seems to be a counsellor w'h they have consulted much; 
and spoke of sending to the English, but at last resolved for Cana- 
da, yet talkt of making a forte a greate way up the river, and abid- 
ing there this winter, and also of carrying the captives and selling 
ym to ye French, which he concludes they resolved on, but make 
but slow passage, concludes it may be twenty days ere they get to 
ye lake 

In his postscript Pynchon adds: 

"Ben Wait is gone home, before the Intelligence came to me. He 
talkt of goeing to Canada before, and I suppose will rather be For- 
ward to it now than Backward." 

So good an opportunity for opening a correspondence with 
the New York Indians, with a view to their pacification and 


to the recovery of the captives was not neglected by our Gov- 
ernment. The six Mohawks released from prison, were sent 
home bearing formal letters of apology for their seizure, 
with a demand for the Natick squaws, and a remonstrance 
against future depredations on the Christian Indians, togeth- 
er with diplomatic assurances of the "special respect" of 
Massachusetts for the Macquas. 

The tidings of Stebbins's escape caused fear and trembling 
among the remaining captives. Stockwell was informed of 
it by Ashpelon, the captain of his party, who seems to have 
treated the English with the utmost kindness, and whose 
shrewd mediation saved them more than once from dreadful 

"He met me and told me Stebbins was run away, and the In- 
dians spake of burning us; some of only burning and biting off 
our Fingers by-and-by. He said there would be a Court, and all 
would speak their minds, but he would speak last, and would say, 
that the Indian that let Stebbins run away, was only in fault, and so 
no hurt should be done us, fear not: and so it proved accordingly." 

A fortnight after the seizure of Stockwell and his friends, 
some of the same party fired the mill above Hadley, and be- 
ing overpowered were let go, on condition of returning soon 
to treat for the release of their captives. 

Stockwell says that Ashpelon was much for it, but the Sa- 
chems from Wachusetts when they came, were much against 
it, yet were willing to meet the English, only to fall upon 
and take them. Ashpelon charged us not to speak a word of 
this, as mischief would come of it. 

While they lingered at this encampment, provisions became 
so scarce that one bear's foot had to serve five captives for a 
whole day's rations, and they began to kill their horses for 
food. At length resuming their journey, they reached a 
small river about two hundred miles above Deerfield, by 
Stockwell's reckoning, where they separated into two com- 


panies. The division to which he was attached passed over 
"a mighty mountain," which they were eight days in crossing, 
though they "travelled very hard." They suffered greatly 
on this march. 

"Here I was frozen, and here again we were like to starve. All the 
Indians went a Hunting but could get nothing; divers dayes they 
Powwow'd but got nothing, then they desired the English to Pray, 
and confessed they could do nothing ; they would have us Pray, 
and see what the Englishman's God could do. I Prayed, so did 
Sergeant Plimpton, in another place. The Indians reverently at- 
tended, Morning and Night; next day they got Bears: then they 
would needs have us desire a Blessing, and return Thanks at Meals: 
after a while they grew weary of it, and the Sachim did forbid us. 
When I was frozen they were very cruel towards me, because 1 could 
not do as at other times. When we came to the Lake we were 
again sadly put to it for Provisions; we were fain to eat Touch- 
wood fryed in Bears' Greace. 

At last we found a company of Racoons, then we made a Feast; 
and the manner was, that we must eat all. 1 perceived there would 
be too much for one time, so one Indian that sat next to me, bid 
me slip away some to him under his Coat, and he would hide it for 
me till another time; this Indian as soon as he had got my Meat, 
stood up and made a Speech to the rest, and discovered me, so that 
the Indians were very angry, and gave me another piece, and gave 
me Raccoon's Grease to drink, which made me sick and Vomit. I 
told them I had enough; so that ever after that they would give 
me none but still tell me I had Raccoon enough ; so I suffered 
much, and being frozen was full of Pain, and could sleep but a lit- 
tle, yet must do my work. When they went upon the lake, they lit 
of a moose and killed it, and staid there till they had eaten it all up. 

After entering upon the lake there arose a great storm but at 

last they got to an island and there they went to Powowing. The 
Powwow said that Benjamin Waite and another Man was coming 
and that storm was raised to cast them away. This afterwards ap- 
peared to be true, though then I believed it not." 



Continued storms kept them cruising- among the islands 
for about three weeks, during which time the Indians them- 
selves were almost starved. Stockwell was days without 
food. The lake being now frozen, they went upon it with 
little sleds upon which they drew their loads. Faint with 
hunger and pain, after repeated falls upon the ice, ''I was so 
spent," continues the narrator, 

"1 had not strength to rise again, but I crept to a tree that lay 
along, and got upon it, and there I lay; it was now night, and very 
sharp weather: 1 counted no other but I must die there; whilest I 
was thinking of Death, an Indian Hallowed, and I answered him; 
he came to me, and called me bad names, and told me if I could not 
go he must knock me on the head: I told him he must then so do; 
he saw how I had wallowed in that Snow, but could not rise; then 
he took his Coat, and wrapt me in it, and went back, and sent two 
Indians with a Sled, one said he must knock me on the Head, the 
other said No, they would carry me away and burn me." 

On seeing his frozen feet, however, they relented, carried 
him to a fire and gave him broth, which revived him so much 
that at daylight he and vSamuel Russell, the eight years old 
child taken from Deerfield, went upon a river on the ice. A 
strange and sad companionship. Russell slipping into the 
water, was called back by the Indians, who dried his stock- 
ings, and sending the two ahead again with an Indian guide, 
they ran four or five miles before the rest came up to them. 
The poor little boy complaining of faintness, told Stockwell, 
who was much exhausted, that he wondered how he could 
live, for he himself had ten meals to Stockwell's one. »Stock- 
well was then laid on a sled and they ran away with him on 
the ice. He says "The rest and Samuel Russell came softly 
after. Samuel Russell I never saw more, nor knew what be- 
came of him." 

A halt of three or four days was made at Chambly, where 


Stockwell was kindly treated by the French, who gave him 
hasty-pudding and milk, with brandy, and bathed his frozen 
limbs with cold water. He was treated with great civility 
by a young man, who let him lie in his bed, and would have 
bought him, had not the Indians demanded a hundred pounds 
for him. To prevent his being abused, this young man ac- 
companied Stockwell to Sorel. 

From Sorel the captives were taken to the Indian lodge 
two or three miles distant, where the French visited Stock- 
well, and it being Christmas, they brought him cakes and 
other provisions. The Indians having tried in vain to cure 
him, he asked for a chirurgeon, at which one of them struck 
him on the face with his fist. A Frenchman near by remon- 
strated and went away, but soon after, the Captain of the 
place with twelve soldiers, came and asked for the Indian 
who had struck the Englishman. Seizing him, he told him 
he should go to the Bilboes and then be hanged. The In- 
dian was much terrified at this, as also was Stockwell, but 
the Frenchman bade him not to fear, the Indian durst not 
hurt him. 

"When that Indian was gone," he says, "I had two masters still. 
I asked them to carry me to that Captain, that I might speak for 
the Indian. They answered I was a fool; did I think the French- 
man were like to the English, to say one thing and do another? — 
they were men of their words, but I prevailed with them to help me 
thither, and I spake to the Captain by an Interpreter, and told him 
I desired him to set the Indian free, and told him what he had done 
for me, he told me he was a Rogue, and should be hanged, then I 
spake more privately, alleging this Reason, because all the English 
Captives were not come in, if he were hanged it might fare the worse 
with them : then the Captain said, that was to be considered : then 
he set him at liberty, upon this condition, that he should never strike 
me more, and every day bring me to his House to eat victuals." 

The magnanimity of his captive so delighted the Indian 


that he embraced him, called him his brother, treated him to 
brandy, and carried him off to his wigwam, where all the 
other Indians shook hands with him and thanked him. The 
next day according to promise, Stockwell was carried to the 
house of the Captain, who gave him victuals and wine. 

"Being left there a while," says he, "I showed the Captain and 
his wife my fingers, who were affrighted thereat and bid me lap it 
up again and sent for the chirurgeon who when he came said he 
could cure me and took it in hand and dressed it. The Indians 

came for me ; I could not go That night 1 was full 

of pain; the French were afraid I would die; five men did watch 
with me, and strove to keep me chearly, for I was ready to faint: 
oft-times they gave me brandy; the next day the chirurgeon came 
again, as he did all the while till May. I continued in the Captain's 
house till Benjamin Waite came, and my Indian master being in 
want of money, pawned me to the Captain for fourteen beavers, or 
the worth of them, which if he did not pay, he must lose his pawn, 
or sell me for one and twenty beavers. He could get no beavers, 
so I was sold, and in God's good time set at liberty and returned 
to my friends in New England." 

Thus ends the sorrowful narrative of one of that little com- 
pany, ruthlessly torn from home and friends on that bright 
September day, two centuries ago,— a strong man in the 
prime of life ;— but who shall tell the woful sufferings of the 
old man of four-score, the tender babes, and helpless women, 
who with him were first to tread that cruel way into Indian 
captivity, travelled later by so many weary feet? Benjamin 
Waite, shuddering at its horrors for his delicate wife and 
three little girls, determined to follow and share their fate, 
if he could not recover them. Stephen Jennings, another 
Hatfield man, whose wife and children were among the cap- 
tives, joined him. 

The attempt of the Government to enlist the Mohawks in 
its service, for the pursuit of their common enemy having 
failed, the General Court, in answer to a petition from Hat- 


field, issued an order for the recovery of the captives, and 
resolved that all incidental expenses should be defrayed by 
the colony. 

On the 24th of October, 1677, Waite and Jennings set 
forward on their mission of love. They bore a commission 
and letters from the the Governor and other influential 
persons, explaining the object of their journey, and bespeak- 
ing the aid of the New York and Canadian authorities in pro- 
moting it. B}' way of Westfield, they reached Albany on 
the seventh day and immediately presented their credentials 
to Capt. Salisbury, Commandant at the post. Convinced by 
the discourteous manner of this arbitrary officer, that he had 
no desire to forward their enterprise, they did not comply 
with his orders to call upon him again before leaving town, 
but went at once to Schenectady to procure an Indian guide 
for their journey. Enquiring who the strangers were, the 
Dutch were told that they belonged in Boston; whereupon 
declaring that the Englishmen said that Schenectady be- 
longed to Boston, and acting doubtless under secret orders 
from Salisbury, they remanded them to Albany. There they 
were detained as prisoners till an opportunity offered to send 
them down to New York for examination by the Governor 
and Council. These proceedings forcibly remind one of the 
fable of the wolf and the lamb. New York had never forgiven 
Massachusetts for her occupation of Connecticut River, and 
was ready to seize upon the slightest pretence for a quarrel. 
The existing ill-will appears in the minutes of the council 
concerning the examination of Waite and Jennings where 
Waite is reported as denying the accusation brought against 
him that he had said that Schenectady belonged to Bos- 
ton, pretending some mistake, they not understanding one 
another's language. It was finally resolved to allow them 
to proceed on their voyage, and with an order from Capt. 
Brockholes, then acting as Governor, that no further ob- 


stacles should be interposed, they were sent back to Albany. 

Waiting in the hope of finding ice on the lakes, and also 
delayed by the difficulty of obtaining a guide, the loth of De- 
cember arrived before these sorely tried men could perfect 
the arrangements for their perilous march through the wil- 
derness. The French guide whom they had hired, failing 
them at the last minute, a Mohawk Indian offered to conduct 
them to Lake George. Much to their disappointment on ar- 
riving there, it was free from ice. Finding an old canoe, the 
Indian refitted it, and after drawing for them on birch bark 
a rough draft of the lakes over which they were to pass, he 
bade them adieu. Three days took them to the outlet of Lake 
George, and carrying their canoe two miles across the portage, 
they reached the shore oi Lake Champlain on the r6th of De- 
cember. Here they took to the ice, but after a day's journey 
it proved too weak to bear them, and sadly retracing their 
steps, they carried the canoe forward to open water, and again 
embarked. Imagine the desolation of these sorrow-stricken 
wayfarers, as they floated for days without food in their frail 
skift\ buffeted and tossed by the wintry winds and icy waters 
of that unknown sea. 

Sustained through all their hardships by that mighty af- 
fection which gives us strength to bear all and dare all for 
our beloved ones, and protected in all dangers by that Provi- 
dence which notes the sparrow's fall, they made land at last 
on New-Year's day. Hastening forward, and greatly re- 
freshed on the way by some biscuits and a bottle of brandy 
left by some hunter in a deserted wigwam, they passed 
Chambly, then a frontier settlement of ten houses. Before 
reaching Sorel, they came upon an Indian encampment, 
where Jennings was overjoyed to find his wife. With sobs 
and broken speech she told him all she had endured, and how 
it had fared with the rest; how Samuel Russell and little 
Mary Foote had been killed on the way; how Goodman 


Plympton had survived the perils of the journey only to be 
murdered at the end; and how, after all had been continually 
threatened with burning, this old man was selected as the 
victim, and led to the stake by his friend and neighbor, 
Obadiah Dickinson, had walked serenely to his dreadful 
death. Groans burst from the lips of the two men as they 
listened to the harrowing details, but restraining their in- 
dignation, they hurried off to bargain for the redemption of 
their beloved ones. At Sorel they saw five more of the com- 
pany, two of whom had been pawned by the Indians for rum. 
"Waite's wife with all the rest of the captives was found in 
the Indian lodges in the woods beyond. Stopping only to 
comfort her with the joyful tidings of her speedy release, 
Waite and Jennings pushed on to Quebec, where they were 
kindly received by the Governor. Glad of an opportunity to 
make return for a favor lately done him by the English Gov- 
ernment, Frontenac aided them in collecting the captives 
and procuring their ransom, which was effected by the pay- 
ment of ^200. 

On the 19th of April, 1678, the redeemed captives with 
their deliverers, escorted by four gentlemen of Frontenac's 
household and a guard of French soldiers, began the home- 
ward march. Travelling leisurely and hunting by the way 
as occasion required, they arrived at Albany on the 22d of 
May, whence a messenger was at once sent post haste with 
the following letters from Stockwell and Waite to their 
friends at Hatfield: 

Albany, May 22, 1678. 

'•'■Loving Wife: — Having now opportunity to remember my kind 
love to thee and our child and the rest of our friends, though we 
met with great afidictions and trouble since 1 see thee last, yet here 
is now opportunity of joy and thanksgiving to God, that we are 
now pretty well and in a hopeful way to see the faces of one another, 
before we take our final farewell of this present world. Likewise 


God hath raised up friends amongst our enemies, and there is but 
three of us dead of all those that were taken away. So I conclude, 
being in haste and rest your most affectionate husband till death 
makes a separation. Quintin Stockwell." 

" To my loving friends atid kindred at Hatfield: — These few lines are 
to let you understand that we are arrived at Albany with the cap- 
tives, and we now stand in need of assistance, for my charges is very 
great and heavy and therefore any that have any love to our condi- 
tion, let it move them to come and help us in this strait. Three of 
the captives are murdered: old Goodman Plympton, Samuel Foote's 
daughter and Samuel Russell: All the rest are alive and well and 
now at Albany. 1 pray you hasten the matter, for it requireth great 
haste. Stay not for the Sabbath, nor for the shoeing of horses. We 
shall endeavor to meet you at Canterhook; it may be at Housato- 
nock. We must come very softly because of our wives and children. 
I pray you hasten then. Stay not night nor day, for the matter re- 
quireth haste. Bring provisions with you for us. 

Your loving kinsman, 

Benjamin Waite. 

At Albany written from mine own hand as I have been affected 
to yours all that were fatherless, be affected to me now, and hasten 
and stay not, and ease me of my charges. You shall not need to be 
afraid of any enemies." 

Copies of these letters were sent to the Governor and Coun- 
cil at Boston, who had previously appointed a day of fasting, 
and who immediately issued an order recommending "that 
on that day the ministers and congregation manifest their 
charity for the captives by a contribution and that for the 
quickening of the work Benjamin Waite's letter be publicly 
read that day in all the churches." 

After tarrying five days in Albany, the party went on foot 
twenty-two miles to Kinderhook, where men and horses 
awaited them. At Westfield many old friends and neigh- 
bors from Hatfield met them, and their progress thence was 


like a triumphal procession, every neighborhood turning out 
to greet them. Two proud and happy men were Benjamin 
Waite and Stephen Jennings, as they headed the cavalcade 
into Hatfield street that May morning, each bearing in his 
arms his new, little daughter, and tears streamed from every 
e3'e as crowding round to welcome home the wanderers, the 
people passed from one to another the two little babies, born 
in bondage and christened in commemoration of the sorrows 
of their mothers, Canada Waite and Captivity Jennings. It 
may interest some to know that both children grew to 
womanhood, and that the former became the grandmother of 
the late Oliver Smith, gratefully remembered by many in 
the Connecticut valley. 

Stockwell's experience of Indian hospitality seems to have 
disgusted him with frontier life, and the year after his return 
he removed to Suffield, Conn. That others still cherished 
the hope of finally possessing their lands in peace is proved 
by the following : 

"To the honoured Generall Court of the Masachusetts Bay now 
setting in Boston y<^ 8th 3, '78:^ 
Rigt Worshipfull : 

We do veryly hope your thoughts are soe upon us & our con- 
dition that it would be superfluous to tell you that our estates are 
wasted that we find it hard work to Live in this Iron age to Come 
to the years end with Comfort; our houses have been Rifled & burned 
— our flocks & heards consumed — the ablest of our Inhabitants 
killed — our plantation has become a wilderness — a dwelling place 
for owls, — & we that are left are separated into several townes — 
Also our reverand & esteemed Minister, Mr. Samuel Mather hath 
been invited from us & greate danger ther is of o'' loosing him; 
all which speaks us a people in a very misirable condition, & 
unlest you will be pleased to take us (out of your father-like pitty) 
& Cherish us in yo'' bosomes we are like Suddinly to breathe out 

'Mass. Archives, May 8, 1678, 


o'' last Breath. Right Honoured The Committie appointed to man- 
age o'' affairs for us the Rev. Mr Mather who hath not yet quitte for- 
saken us, & we the Remaining Inhabitants Joyfully doe desire 
that we might return & plant that place againe. Yet we would 

earnestly begg that we may Repossess the Said plantation 

with great Advantage Both for the advancing the cause & King- 
dome of Jesus & for o'' own saftie & comfort 

The petition then enlarges upon the drawback they have 
heretofore encountered, in the fact that the best land is held 
by the proprietors, who are likely never to settle in Deerfield, 
and declare that Mr. Mather and they are of opinion "the 
plantation will be spoiled if these men may not be begged or 
will not be bought out of their rights." They conclude as 

"All judicious men who have any acquaintance with it, Count It as 
Rich a tract of land as any upon the river; they Judge it sufficient 
to entertain & maintain as great number of Inhabitants as most of 
the upland townes, alsoe were it well peopled it would be as a bul- 
wark to the other townes; also it would be a great disheartening 
to the enemie & veryly (not to make to bold with your worship's pa- 
tience) It would mightily Incourage and Raise the hearts of us the 
Inhabitants yo'' poor & Impoverished servants." 

The prayer of the petitioners was not answered. The 
matter was referred by the Court to the proprietors, and no 
further attempt to rebuild Deerfield was made until 1682. 


Towards the middle of the seventeenth century, on the 
bank of the ice-bound St. Charles, rose a hut, with the high 
sounding name of Notre-Dame des Anges. Two feet above 
its low eaves rose the drifted snow. Within, great logs blazed 
in the "wide-throated chimney," before which, on a wooden 
stool, at a rough, board table, sat Paul Le Jeune, Superior of 
the first Jesuit Mission at Quebec in New France. The trees 
in the neighboring forest cracked with the frost like the re- 
port of a pistol. Le Jeune's ink and his fingers froze ; but 
late into the night, bribing his Indian teacher with tobacco, 
he toiled away at his declensions, translating his Pater Noster 
and Credo into "blundering Algonquin." Then, wrapped in 
his blanket, which was soon "fringed with the icicles of his 
congealed breath," he snatched an hour's rest, and waking 
with the dawn, with a hatchet broke the ice in his cask for 
his morning ablutions, and began his labors afresh. 

"From Old France to New," says Mr. Parkman, "came suc- 
cors and re-inforcements," and a year before Harvard College 
was founded, there was at Quebec, the beginning of a school 
and a college for Huron boys and French youth. "Our Lady" 
smiled upon Paul Le Jeune's missions ; and as in the days of 
Poutrincourt, the wealth and patronage of the ladies of the 


French Court sent the first Jesuit to New France, so the suc- 
cess of these later missions at Quebec, and of the newly con- 
secrated Ville Marie de Montreal, was in great measure due 
to the zeal and romantic devotion of Madame de La Peltrie, 
Marie de L'Incarnation, Mdlle. Jeanne Mance, and Margue- 
rite Bourgeois ; and no one can read the story of Paul Le 
Jeune and his associates as related by themselves, without 
mingled admiration and respect for the founders of Roman- 
ism in Canada. 

Meanwhile, with a kindred zeal, that noble apostle, John 
Eliot, sat in his little study at Roxbury, patiently translating 
the English Bible into the Algonquin tongue for the benefit 
of the Indians near Boston, often meeting them at Nonantum 
hill, after the duties of his own pulpit were discharged for 
the week, and there expounding to them its simple truths. 
Nor was this the end of his labors for their improvement. 
Believing that civilization, or civility, as he calls it, should 
go hand in hand with religion, he instructed the sachems in 
agriculture and the use of tools, bought spinning-wheels for 
the squaws, and not neglecting the primer for the Catechism, 
founded schools for their pappooses, rewarding their dili- 
gence with the gift of a cake or an apple. At last, when he 
had established his praying Indians, as they were called, in 
a village of their own at Natick, the town of Dedham was 
indemnified for the loss of land appropriated to their use, by 
a grant of eight thousand acres elsewhere ; and what is now 
Deerfield was the spot selected. 

We of to-day, looking upon the fruits of two hundred years 
, of culture, do not wonder at their choice, and we can scarcely 
realize how resolute and pious must have been the hearts, 
and how strong the hands, of the men and women, who in 
167 1, began the settlement of Deerfield. A rude life they 
led for the first few years, with no school, no meeting-house, 
and no settled minister; though Samuel Mather, son of Tim- 


othy of Dorchester, ministered to them in 1673, boarding at 
the time with Quentin Stockwell. Driven from their heri- 
tage by the savage hordes of Philip, it was not till 1682 that 
an effort at resettlement was made. 

In the senior class at Harvard at that time, was John Wil- 
liams, a studious youth, son of Deacon Samuel Williams of 
Roxbury. (Graduated from a class of three, of whom two 
were Williamses, John Williams, then but twenty-two years 
of age, after studying divinity, was ordained minister of 
Deerfield, in 1688. There would seem to be little in the po- 
.sition of pastor to a frontier settlement to attract a young 
man born and educated at the metropolis ; and without doubt- 
ing that Mr. Williams was mainly actuated by that mission- 
ary spirit, which characterized the preachers of that period, 
it is possible that a previous acquaintance with the North- 
ampton lady, whom he married the year after his ordination, 
made him more willing to accept the call to Deerfield. This 
was Eunice Mather, a cousin of the first minister of Deer- 
field, daughter of Rev. Eleazer Mather, and descended on 
her mother's side from John Warham, a noted Puritan Di- 
vine of Exeter, England. 

Eunice Williams, second daughter, and sixth child of Rev. 
John Williams, was born September 17th, 1696. She was the 
middle child of eleven, all born to her parents within sixteen 
years. Though nothing can be definitely stated of her child- 
hood previous to 1704, we may suppose that her five little 
brothers and sisters, whose births are recorded as rapidly 
succeeding her own, monopolized the attention of the mother 
with whom Esther, the eldest daughter, was more naturally 
associated in the care of the younger ones; while the father, 
busy in providing for his rapidly increasing family, and 
much occupied with his parish duties, devoted the little lei- 
sure that remained, to planning for the education of the old- 
er boys. So I fancy Eunice a pale, delicate, dark-eyed child. 


left pretty much to her own devices for the jfirst six years of 
her life. 

Let us glance at the Deerfield of that period. We see it 
all, — the palisade enclosing the Garrison House/ the parson- 
age and many humble dwellings; the forts or stockaded 
houses outside; the old meeting-house, a square edifice, from 
the middle of whose foursided roof, sprang the belfry, — emp- 
ty, truth compels me to state, for the bell, whose echoes 
sounded so pleasantly in our ears for many years, has recent- 
ly been silenced forever by the indefatigable antiquary: - 
the people, with names and, doubtless, faces so familiar to 
us, — valiant, hard-working. God-fearing men; heroic, much- 
enduring, pious women. Only the location of the school- 
house, where Eunice probably went to school, is missing. 
But though the fathers and mothers of that time were for 
the most part uneducated, they had a school-house, and in 
Eunice's day as in ours, a Barnard was the noted school 
dame of the village; public-spirited, like her of our time, be- 
queathing large legacies to the schools. Eunice was a good 
reader, and knew her Catechism by heart. Mr. John Catlin 
was then school committee and I have no doubt, that when 
he visited the school, Eunice felt very much as we have on 
similar occasions; and that being the minister's daughter, 
she was plied with longer words and harder questions than 
the rest; and that she privately told Martha and Abigail 
French that she didn't like their grandfather at all. She 
liked to go to Deacon French's, who lived on what is now the 
site of the second church parsonage. The Deacon was the 
blacksmith of the village, and his shop stood a few rods west 
of his house. Eunice would stand hours watching him, as 
he beat into shape the plough-shares, that had been bent by 

'Ever after the attack on Deerfield, known as the "Old Indian House." 

'^Hon. George Sheldon, of Deerfield, by whom the legendary "Bell of Saint 
Regis," has been proved a myth. 


the stumps in the newly cleared lands. As the sparks flew 
tip from the flaming forge, she thought of the verse in the 
Bible, "Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward," 
and wondered what it meant. Too soon, alas, she learned. 

The Indians for a time held in check by the defeat and 
death of Philip, were beginning again to desolate the scat- 
tered villages. When in 1689, they settled old scores with 
Major Waldron at Dover, they killed Richard Otis, and took 
his wife and baby with other captives to Canada. Scalping 
parties hovered perpetually about Deerfield, and the new- 
born settlement was soon baptized in blood. 

When in 1702, Dudley left England to assume the govern- 
ment of Massachusetts, it was evident that the English queen 
could not overlook the insult offered her by Louis XIV, As 
ever since the peace of 1698, the Canadian government had 
lost no opportunity of exciting the eastern Indians to hostil- 
ity, under the pretext of protecting them from the encroach- 
ments of the English, it was inevitable that war between the 
two nations in the Old World, must be followed by a renew- 
al of atrocities in New England. As a precautionary meas- 
ure, Dudley appointed a conference with the sachems, in 
June, 1703, at Casco, and repairing thither with his suite, was 
met on the 30th, by Hopehood of Norridgwock, Wanungunt 
of Penobscot, and Wattanummon of Pennacook, with their 
chief sagamores. In stereotyped phrase, the new governor 
said, that commissioned by his victorious queen, he had come 
as to friends and brothers, to reconcile all differences since 
the last treaty. The Indian orator in turn assured him, that 
peace was what they desired above all things, and in lan- 
guage as poetical as it was false, declared that "as high as 
the sun was above the earth, so far distant should their de- 
signs be of making the least breach between them." Both 
parties then heaped up fresh stones upon the pillar called the 
Two Brothers, that had been set up at the last treaty, and 

MHOL 3fl3Hvv aauoH a'Taaias htivv ao, 
><ooT ju=iwo3fl02 Yfl3v amaa 



f .I.A\'I ) 

the stumps 






al c 
of ] 
chit. , .-, 

■d lands. As the sparks flew 
' bought of the verse in the 
IS the sparks fly upward," 
.'O soon, alas, she learned. 
" ' defeat and 

11 o the scat- 
Id scores with 
s, and took 
••• new- 




Wiivy meas- 
,cc with ciio sachems, in 
;;i 1..,, .,. , ...^ thither with hi^ ^nno wtq 
opehood of Norridpfwoek. ■ 
A, and Wattanunimon of ' 

- .^mores. ■ ■■■ ^ 
said, that commishi 
as t 'riends and broi 
the ia>L treaty. The 1 
peaie was what thry 
gua as poetical 
the was ali 

sigr ■ ')f m.( 
part I) heaped Uj' 

Tw( uiiiers, that. h. 


• iCf 

a, ihat 
in lan- 
d that "as high as 
nt should their de- 
'. een them." Both 
:he pillar called tlu' 
'he last 


the ceremonies ended. A few weeks later, Bomazeen boasted 
that though several missionaries from the French had tried 
to seduce them from their allegiance, they "were as firm as 
the mountains, and so would continue as long as the sun and 
moon endured." 

Truly has Penhallow said, "Their voice was like the voice 
of Jacob, but their hands like the hands of Esau," for in six 
weeks after, they with their Canadian allies, set the whole 
country in flames. New York was protected by her treaty 
with the Six Nations, and the whole brunt of the war fell 
upon Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Deerfield being 
the most remote settlement, and easy of access from Canada, 
was especially exposed. It had, however, a watchful sentinel 
at its outpost, in the person of Col. John Schuyler at Albany, 
who often sent intelligence of the movements of the enemy, 
and thus warded off the danger. A mission of converted 
Mohawks, (Iroquois,) whom the Jesuits had persuaded to leave 
their native towns, and settle on the St. Lawrence under the 
wing of the church, had at this time a fort at vSaint-Louis,^ 
now Caughnawaga, nine miles above Montreal. They natu- 
rally allied themselves with the French, while those of their 
tribe who remained in the place of their nativity, came un- 
der the sway of the English. The praying Indians of the Mo- 
hawks, whose principal village was at Caughnawaga, forty 
miles distant from Albany, were in the habit of visit- 
ing their relatives at the Saint-Louis mission, and news of 
the threatened attacks upon Deerfield, was frequently brought 
by them to Albany on their return, and communicated by 
Schuyler to the authorities in New England. 

In the autumn following the conference at Casco, Zebediah 
Williams, and John Nims, his half brother, were taken from 

'This was the fourth fort built on the St. Lawrence near Montreal, by these 
praying Mohawks. A part of its walls, so familiar to Eunice Williams and 
other New England captives, is still to be seen. 



the north meadows in Deerfield and carried to Canada. So 
impressed was the Rev. Mr. Williams with a presentiment of 
the danger hovering over the town, that both in the pulpit 
and out, he urged the utmost vigilance upon his people. The 
old fable of the boy and the wolf was acted over again, and 
the savage foe, stealing from the forest at midnight upon the 
fold, found the guardians sleeping, and fell with rapine and 
murder upon the little flock. The story is an old one and 
needs no repetition here. But who can tell the horror 
stamped forever upon the heart and brain of Eunice, by the 
sights and sounds of that awful night? vSuddenly waked 
from the untroubled sleep of childhood, to see the hideous 
faces of demons bending over her; dragged by bloody hands 
from her warm bed, hurried through the room where she 
sees her father, bound hand and foot, helpless to protect her, 
and afraid to pity lest he may hasten her doom; over the 
door stone, where her little brother lies dead, and by his side, 
gashed and bleeding, the faithful black woman, whom next 
to their mother, they loved ; out into the cold winter night, 
reddening now like the dawn, in the glare of the burning 
village, and so to the church, the child is borne. Pine torches 
flaring in the hands of the dusky warriors, lighted up the 
scene within. The enemy's wounded, groaning in agony on 
the floor ; old men praying and calling on God for deliver- 
ance ; women speechless and despairing, among them her 
mother pale and wan ; her playmates shrieking with terror ; 
infants wailing with cold and hunger ; — huddled there in 
woful companionship, while the mocking fiends completed 
the work of destruction. At dawn, the shivering captives 
began their weary march. The impression made upon the 
tender mind of the child, by the dreadful scenes of this night 
and the twenty-five succeeding days, may explain the fact of 
her reluctance to return to the home of which she had re- 
tained only this frightful remembrance. 


In the distribution of the captives, Eunice fell to the lot 
of a Mohawk of Saint-Louis. Whether her beauty pleased 
his Indian fancy, or her forlorn condition melted his savage 
breast to pity, it is certain that she was treated with more 
consideration by her master, than her companions were by 
theirs. When her little feet were weary, he lifted her to his 
brawny shoulder, or bore her tenderly in his arms. Wrap- 
ping her warmly in his blanket, he drew her on a sledge 
over the icy rivers, spread her bed softly with thick hemlock 
boughs when they camped at night, and selected the choicest 
morsels from his hunting for her food, often stinting himself 
that she might have the more. Seeing her playmates butch- 
ered in cold blood by their cruel masters on that fearful 
journey, the little innocent clung to her protector with the 
trustfulness of childhood, and the two strange companions 
learned to love each other well. On their arrival in Canada, 
she was carried at once to his home, and thus separated en- 
tirely from her family. At the earnest prayer of her father, 
who was at iVIontreal, the governor sent a priest with him to 
endeavor for her ransom. But the Jesuit at the Saint-Louis 
mission would not permit Mr. Williams to enter the fort, as- 
suring him that it would be labor lost, for the Macquas 
would part with their hearts sooner than with his child. Ac- 
companied by the governor, Mr. Williams finally obtained 
an interview with Eunice, who with sobs and tears begged 
and pleaded that he would take her away from that dreadful 
place. Soothing her as well as he could, though her sorrow 
inust have rent his heart, her father heard her say her Cate- 
chism and told her she must pray to God every day. The 
seven years old child assured him that she had not once 
omitted to do so, "but," said she, "a wicked man in a long 
black gown comes every day, and makes me say some Latin 
prayers which I cannot understand, but I hope it may do me 
no harm." She told him how the savages profaned the Sab- 


bath, and promised him that she would always keep it holy. 
For a few minutes again before his release, Mr. Williams 
was permitted to converse with his daughter. The Gover- 
nor's wife, seeing his deep-seated melancholy on her account, 
had Eunice brought to Montreal, where she told him of the 
methods used to drive heretic children to the bosom of the 
mother church. 

It is a mournful picture. The Jesuit with his slouched hat 
looped up at the sides, in a long black cassock, a rosary at his 
waist, and a scourge in his hand. The timid English girl, 
scion of a grand old Puritan stock, cowering in abject terror 
on her knees before him. Rebaptized Margaret, with the 
sign of the cross on her brow and bosom, Eunice is alternate- 
ly threatened with punishment and allured with promises. 
She is told tales of her father's conversion, frightened with 
pictures of fiends tormenting the souls of little children, and 
beaten for refusing to make the sign of the cross. All offers 
of ransom were refused for her, and when she entreated to 
be allowed to go home, she was told that if she went she 
would be damned and burned in hell forever, a threat terri- 
ble to the ears of a child bred in the Puritanic fear of the ev- 
erlasting fire. Fond as her Indian master was of her, he was 
powerless to protect her from these cruelties. While he did 
not deny the justice of the claims made for the restoration 
of the prisoner, he always asserted that he could not release 
her without an order from the governor, whose subject he 
was. On the other hand, the governor pleaded his fear of 
the king's displeasure, lamented his want of authority to 
command the Indians, who, he said, were his allies and not 
his subjects. The priests, appealed to as a last resource, 
scornfully repelled the implied suspicion, and declared that 
humanity forbade them to interfere to separate the child 
against her will, from the master whom she loved as her father. 

After the blow fell upon the devoted town of Deerfield, 


Schuyler did not relax his efforts to protect New England. 
He openly protested against the maintenance of neutrality 
in New York, whereby the marauders passed unmolested, 
to attack the people of Massachusetts; and remonstrating in 
their name with the Governor of Canada, he said, he had 
thought it his "duty to God and man to prevent as far as pos- 
sible, the infliction of such cruelties as had too often been 
committed on the unfortunate colonists." In all negotiations 
for the redemption of English captives he was especially act- 
ive. He sent out friendly Indians as scouts into the enemy's 
country, and reported faithfully to our governor all that he 
could learn of the designs of their captors in regard to them. 
He was much interested in the restoration of Eunice, and all 
that we know of her condition after her father's release is 
gleaned from hints in his correspondence. In a letter to 
Col. Partridge, commanding at Hatfield, dated Feb, i8, 1706-7, 

he says, "As to Mr. Williams Daughter, our spies are 

returned, who as they were hunting, saw Mr. Williams daugh- 
ter wth the Indian who ownes her. She is in good health, 
but seemes unwilling to returne, and the Indian not very will- 
ing to part with her, she being, as he says, a pritty girl but 
perhapps he may Exchange her if he can gett a very pritty 
Indian in her Rome, which he must first see, you may assure 
Mr. Williams I will do all that lays in my power to serve 
him, as I have formally wrott to him, and indeed to all others 
that are prisoners." In conclusion, after notifying Col. Par- 
tridge of certain movements of the enemy, he says: "I wish 
you and us may be all on our guard, and God preserve us all 
from such bloody enemies." In another letter to Partridge^ 
on the nth of August, 1707, he notices the return of two 
trusty Indians whom he had sent as "spys" to Caughnawaga 

'This letter was sent by Sam'l Doxy, who had gone from New England to 
Albany. In it he calls Caughnawaga "a Castle belonging to ye French praying 
Macquas neer to Prary [La PrairieJ in Canada." 


in Canada, and who reported a party of the enemy at Otter 
Creek on their way to New England, and also "that they see 
Deaken Sheldon of Deerfield at Montreal, who walked the 
streets, but was told he was deteind and had not liberty to 
goe home." Schuyler adds, "Do be on your guard to pre- 
vent your people from falling into the hands of these 
bloody savages; but I cannot enlarge, for I will have the mes- 
senger ride this night, and it is now ten o'clock." 

Mr. Sheldon went at least three times to Canada, in behalf 
of Eunice and others, and on the above occasion was not al- 
lowed to return, there being another expedition on foot 
against the English. Deacon Sheldon's kind offices seem to 
have produced some relenting in the heart of Eunice's mas- 
ter, for I have before me a letter written from her cousin in 
Northampton, to her brother in Roxbury, dated Aug. 4, 1707, 
which says, "A post came from Albany last Saturday night, 
that brought letters from Canada, also a letter from Albany, 
that saith, 'Ye Indian, Eunice's master, saith he will bring 
her in within two months.' " 

One can picture the quiet little village on that Saturday 
night. All work laid aside, the Puritan Sabbath already 
begun; the pious psalms of the different households borne out 
upon the summer air, and perhaps the solemn voice of the 
pastor, as with the remnant of his once happy family, he 
prays for the return of the captive still languishing in chains 
afar; the sound of horse's hoofs, as the messenger rides post 
from Albany, sent by Peter vSchuyler to announce that 
Eunice's master will bring her within two months; the stir 
in the village, as the glad tidings spreads from house to 
house. Hope beating high in the bosoms of some, with the 
thought that now, perhaps, they may rejoin their beloved 
ones, long since torn from them by a fate more cruel than 
death; sorrow in some at the renewed remembrance of those 
that can never return. 


Saddest of all is the remembrance of the ten years old 
girl at Caughnawaga, in the wigwam of her master. It is al- 
ways her master and never a hint that any, even of the rud- 
est of her sex, surround her. She may have heard that he 
has promised at last to take her home, and perhaps begs him 
with tears not to wait, but to go at once. He tells her, per- 
haps, that her father has ceased to care for her, that he has 
left her alone, and taken her brothers and sister home with 
him; that her mother is dead and her father has a new wife, 
who will beat her if she goes home; that she is to stay with 
him, till some young brave claims her as his squaw. It may 
be that she still weeps obstinately, and that he drags her to 
the priest, to be terrified into obedience. 

The two months pass, and no tidings yet of Eunice at Al- 
bany. Seven years elapse; seven weary years of alternate 
hope and despair since her capture, — when, one summer 
morning, a strange visitor ascends the broad steps of the old 
Province House in Boston. She glides through the spacious 
doorway and into the grand reception room, where she gazes 
about her with a half frig^htened, half curious air. The Qfov- 
ernor is there with several gentlemen. "Who is she? What 
does she want?" he asks. "An Abenaki squaw," the usher 
replies, "who demands her children, captured by the English 
some time since, and now in Boston." A thought strikes 
the governor. He will exchange the children of this wom- 
an for Eunice. iVn interpreter is sent for. "The white man's 
axe is laid at the foot of the forest tree," says the Abenaki, 
"its branches are lopped away and it will soon die." The 
pappooses are brought, and while the mother fondles her 
young in savage fashion, the interpreter answers for the gov- 
ernor. "Among the hills," he says, "a shepherd fed his 
peaceful flock, when a wolf sprang upon them, and some 
were killed, and others driven far away. Day and night the 
shepherd grieves for the youngling of his flock, gone astray. 


In the north the white lamb bleats, but cannot find her way 
back. Let the Abenaki bring her back to the shepherd, the 
white chief says, and her pappooses shall be restored to her; 
the branches shall be safe and the forest tree shall live 
again." "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." 
"The Abenaki knows where the white lamb is hid. She will 
go, and before so many moons are gone, the shepherd shall 
have his own again." Another fierce embrace of her chil- 
dren, and the squaw strides forth into the wilderness. How 
she sped on her quest, is shown by the following extract 
from a letter in our archives, written by Father Meriel in 
Canada, to Mr. Johnson Harmon' at Shamblee : 

^"Montreal, June 26, 171 1. 
Sir : 

Since you are gone, a squaw of the nation of the 
Abnakis is come in from Boston. She has a pass from your Gov- 
ernour. She goes about getting a Httle girl daughter of Mr. John 
Williams. The Lord Marquis of Vaudreuil helps her as he can. 
The business is very hard because the girl belongs to Indians of 
another sort, and the master of the English girl is now at Albany. 
You may tell your Governour that the squaw can't be at Boston at 
the time appointed, and that she desires him not to be impatient 
for her return, and meanwhile to take good care of her two papows. 
The same Lord chief Governor of Canada, has insured me in case 
she may not prevail with the Mohoggs for Eunice Williams, he shall 
send home four English persons in his power for an Exchange in 
the Room of the two Indian children. You see well. Sir, your Gov- 
ernour must not disregard such a generous proffer as according to 
his noble birth and obliging genious Ours makes. Else he would 
betray little affection to his own people." 

'Johnson Harmon of York. Maine, is on a "List of Captives still in the 
hands of the French and Indians at Canada given to Mr. Vaudruille's messen- 
gers," and dated 1710-11. Mass. Archives, Vol. 71. 

' Mass. Archives, Vol. 51, p. 212. See Appendix. 


Again Deerfield is agitated with rumors of the speedy re- 
covery of Eunice Williams. Hope again visits the heart of 
her unhappy father, to be again dispelled by disappoint- 

In a letter to the French governor, dated Nov. 10, 171 2, 
Dudley, impatient of the delay, says : "I have in my Keeping 
one Indian sachem of Quebeck, one other sachem of your 
Indians near in blood and kindred to the woman that has Mr. 
Williams's daughter, which I will exchange for her, — or oth- 
erwise I will never set them free." 

Meantime, having notified Schuyler of his interview with 
the Abenaqui squaw, and warned him to keep a sharp look- 
out for her return, he receives at last the following letter 
from Peter Schuyler : 

'■'■May it please your Excellency^ 

Y(f Excellency's Letters 
of y^ 6"' and 10"^ Currant for Expresse have Received togather with 
five letters for Mons'' Vaudreuil gov'' of Canida which have deliver'^ 
to y*^ French officer Dayeville^ who goes from hence y** [19J Instant 
& have taken his Receipt for three Letters as you Designed which 
is here Inclosed as to what your Excellency mentions Relating to 
Mr. Williams his doghter, the squaw nor she is not come her yet 
nor have I heard anything of her Coming altho I shall be very glad 
to see them and do assure your Excellency If they come together 
or be it y« squaw alone I shall use all possible meanes to get the 
child exchanged Either as your Excellency proposes or what other 
way the squaw will be most willing to Comply with. In the mean- 
time shall Inform my Selfe by all opportunities whether the said 
Squaw & Child be coming here or if they be anywhere near by. 
Your Excellency may depend that whatever I can do for y« obtain- 

'This is Jean Baptiste Dageuille, Sergeant in the company of M. de la For- 
est, who on May 26, 1711, at the age of twenty-six, married the captive Marie 
Priscille Storer, daughter of Jeremiah and Ruth [Masters] Storer of Wells. 


ing of y*^ s'' Child shall at no time be wanting. So shall take leave 
to subscribe my Selfe 

Your Excellency' 

Most humble & Obedient 


P. Schuyler. 
Albany, Dec. 19, (?) 1712." 

Accompanying this letter in our Archives, is the following : 
"Received of Coll. P. Schuyler, three French letters sent him from 
Governor Dudley, directed to Mons'' Vaudreiul, govern'r in Canada 
which Letters I promise carefully to Convey & Deliver to y^ said 
Govern"^ in Canada as soon as I shall arrive there witness my hand 
this 19th December 17 12 

[Signed] Dageuille.^" 

Father Meriel had written that the French governor would 
give four English captives in exchange for the two Abenaqui 
pappooses. It had now become evident that he would not 
give one ; that one being Eunice Williams. 

Months later than the date of Schuyler's letter, and the re- 
turn of Dageuille to Canada, the squaw appeared alone at 
Albany. The same old story is repeated. The child Eunice 
refuses to leave her master. He is loath to compel her. 
Such influence is brought to bear upon Dudley, that he dares 
not reject the offer of the Canadian government. Four New 
England households are made happy by the return of their 
beloved ones ; the squaw and her babies are sent home ; but 
Eunice Williams, the child of so many prayers, the object of 
the solicitude of so many sorrowing hearts, the coveted prize 
of two governments, is still a helpless captive. 

In the spring of 171 3, John Schuyler, impatient of the long 
suspense, and fully confident of his own ability to mediate 
effectually between the two powers, undertook the weary 

'It is an interesting fact, that Frenchmen who had married our captives, 
were often sent to New England, as ambassadors from the Canadian govern- 


journey to Canada. His letter^ to Governor Dudley explains 
itself : 

"May it please your Excellency: — 

I thought it my duty im- 
mediately w'thout any further Omission, to signify to Your Excel- 
lency my return from Mont Reall to Albany, upon y'' 15th of this 
instant June with Mons'' Bolock and three more, and nine prisoners, 
a list of their names is herein inclosed. ^ I sett them forward for 
New England with Samel Ashly and Daniell Bagg upon the 100^'' 
instant. I have not herein incerted the charges; by reason I cann' 
make up the Acc*^ till y*^ officers return to Canada; I have likewise 
enclos<^ for Yo^ Excellency my Memoriall that touches the concern 
of y« Rev" Mr Williams y<^ Minister at Dearfeild for his Daughter. 
My indefatigueable Pains therein came to no purpose. If y'' Ex- 
cellency hath the Returns of peace I hope to receive them; and then 
shall dispatch them away as directed. I found a great fatigue in 
my Journey to and from Canada and waded through many Difficul- 
ties in y^ way w"' the Prisonirs To Dilate thereon would be prolix. 
I now beg leave to assure your Excellency of my Effection and Zeal 
to every yo'' Commands and that in all Sincerity I am May it Please 
Yo^ Excelly 

Yo'' most obedient humble Serv^ 

John Schuyler. 
Albany June y^ 
18^'" 1713" 

The memorial accompanying this letter is a remarkable 
State Paper. The writer's sanguine hope, after his confer- 
ence with the fair-spoken De Vaudreuil ; his indignation at 
the iniquitous marriage, calmed by the explanation of the 
priest ; his gentle and chivalrous reception of the girl bride ; 

'Mass. Archives, Vol II, p. 468. 

'^Hertel de Beaulac, brother of Hertel de Rouville, in command of a guard 
of three soldiers, escorted Schuyler and the nine captives to Albany. The list 
does not appear. 


his patient and repeated pleading with her to return to her 
afflicted father ; his unrestrained anger at her continued ob- 
stinacy ; and the silent grief which overwhelms him at the 
thought of his fruitless mission, as he leaves her to her In- 
dian lord; — all are told with a simple pathos, to which the 
words of another cannot do justice. It is therefore given 

"A true and perfect Memoriall of my proceedings Jn behalf of 
Margarett Williams now Captive amongst ye Jndians at the ffort of 
Caghenewaga Jn Canada, Jnsisting upon her Reliese and to persuade 
her to go home to her father and Native Countrey, it being upon the 
instant and earnest desire of her ffather now Minister at Dearfeild 
in New England. J arrived from Albany at Mont Reall on ye 15"' 
of Aprill last, 17 13, Where J understood y' Mons"" de Vaudruille, 
Govern'' and chief of Canada, was expected then every day from 
Quebeck. Upon which J thought proper not to mention anything 
touching the aforesaid Captive, untill his Excellency should be here 
himself: and accordingly when he arrived here J propos'd the mat- 
ter to him, who gave me all the Encouragem' J could immagine 
for her to go home, he also permitted me to go to her at the ffort, 
where she was, to prepare if J could persuade her to go home. 
Moreover, his Excellency said, that w"' all his heart, he would give 
a hundred Crowns out of his own pockett, if that she might be per- 
suaded to go to her Native Countrey: J observing all this, then was 
in hopes J should prevaile with her to go home. Accordingly J 
went to the ffort at Caghenewaga, being accompanied by one of the 
King's Officers and a ffrench Interpreter, likewise another of the Jn- 
dian Language Being upon the 26 Day of May. Entring at the }n- 
dian ffort J thought fitt first to apply mySelf to the priests ; As J 
did, Being two in Company, And was informed before that this in- 
fant (As J may say) was married to a young Jndian, J therefore pro- 
posed to know the Reason why this poor Captive should be Married 
to an Jndian, being a Christian Born (tho neerly taken from the 
Mother's Breast and such like Instances &c) Whereupon the priest 
Sett forth to me Such good Reasons w^'' Witnesses that mySelf, or 


any other person (as J believe) could fairly make Objection against 
their Marriage; (First, s" he they came to me to Marry them) very 
often w^^ J always refus'd with good words and persuasions to the 
Contrary, But both continuing in their former resolution to Such a 
Degree that J was constrained to be absent from y'' ffort three Sev- 
erall times, because not Satisfyed mySelf in their Marriage ; Untill 
at last after Some days past they both came to me, and s^' that they 
were Joined together, And if he would not marry them they matter'd 
not, for they were resolved never to leave one the other. But live 
together heathen like ; Upon w'^*^ J thought proper to Join them in 
Matrimony and Such like Reasons as aforesaid the priest did plainly 
Sett forth and after some further discourse, J desired the priest, to 
let me see her at his house, ffor J knew not where to find her upon 
which he sent for her, who prsently came with the Jndian she was 
Married to both together She looking very poor in body, bashfuU 
in the face but proved harder than Steel in her breast, at her first 
Entrance into the Room J desired her to sitt down, w'^'^ she did, J 
first Spoak to her in English, Upon w'^" she did not Answ'' me; 
And J believe She did not understand me, she being very Young 
when she was taken. And liveing always amongst the Jndians after- 
wards, J Jmployed my Indian Languister to talk to her; informing 
him first by the ffrench Jnterpreter, who understood the English 
Language, What he should tell her and what Questions he should 
Ask her Accordingly he did J understood amost all what he said 
to her; And found that he Spoak according to my Order, but could 
not gett one word from her. Upon which J desired the priest To 
Speak to her, And if J could not prevaile w*'^ her to go home to Stay 
there, that She might only go to see her ffather. And directly return 
hither again, The priest made a long Speech to her and endeavored 
to persuade her to go, but after almost half an hours discourse — 
could not get one word from her; And afterwards when he found 
She did not Speak, he again Endeavoured to persuade her to go and 
see her ffather And J seeing She continued impersuadable to speak; 
J promised upon my Word and honour, if she would go only to see 
her ffather, J would convey her to New England and give her As- 
sureance of liberty to return if she pleased — the priest asked her 


Severall times for answer upon this, my earnest request And fair 
offers w''' was after long Solicitations zaghte oghte which words 
being translated into the English Tongue, their Signifycation is ?nay 
be not; but the meaning thereof . amongst the Jndians is a plaine 
denyall, and these words were all we could gett from her; in allmost 
two hours time that we talked with her. Upon this my eyes being 
allmost filled with tears, J said to her mySelf. had J made such pro- 
posalls and prayings to the worst of Jndians J did not doubt but 
have had a reasonable Answere and consent to what J had s'^. Up- 
on w*^'' her husband seeing that J was so much concerned about 
her replyed had her ffather not Married againe She would have gone 
and Seen him long Ere this time, But gave no further reason and 
the time growing late and J being very Sorrowfull that J could not 
prevail upon nor get one word more from her, J took her by the 
hand and left her in the priest's house. John Schuyler." 

De Vaudretiil sent a letter to Dudley by Schuyler, on his 
return, in which he says, "Colonel John Schuyler, to whom 

I have caused to be delivered nine of your captives, 

will tell you in what manner Mr. Williams's daughter received 
him, and how he could never oblige her to promise him any- 
thing but that she would go to see her father, as soon as 
peace should be proclaimed. I am surprised at the little jus- 
tice you do me in what you say to me about the marriage of 
that girl with a savage of the vSault.' I am much more cha- 
grined at this than you are, on account of her father for 
whom I have absolute respect ; but not being able to foresee 
this, it was impossible for me to prevent it." 

Schuyler's ill success did not prevent further efforts for 
the redemption of Eunice. On the 27th of June, 1713, short- 
ly after the receipt of the above memorial. Governor Dudley 
writing to congratulate the Governor of Canada upon the re- 
turn of peace acknowledges the receipt of his letter of the 
12th inst. and acquaints him of the arrival of "John Schtiyler 

'Saint-Louis. [Caughnawaga.] 


and the nine Eng-lish. prisoners that accompanied him being- 
far short of the number I justly expected should have been 
returned me ; who would doubtless have been very forward 
to have come home, had they been allowed soe to doe when 
I have long since dismissed and transported at their own De- 
sire and Choice, at my charge, all the French prisoners that 
were in my hands, and am in the hourly expectation of re- 
ceiving an order directed to yourself from the Court of 
France, requiring the same on your part (a copy of which I 
have now in my hands), I have no satisfactory explanation 
to my complaint of the treatment of the Reverend Mr. Wil- 
liams's daughter, referring to her marriage with a Salvage, 
and the unaccountable detention of her. She is to be con- 
sidered as a minor within y'' age of consent to make choice 
for herselfe being carryd away early in her infancy before 
she had discretion to judge of things for her own good. I 
hope you will interfere with all good offices to free her from 
the Impositions made on her tender years, that she may be 
rescued from those miseries she is thoroughly obnoxious to, 
and restored to her father." Dudley adds, that immediately 
upon the receipt of the order from the French King, for the 
release of the captives he "shall put that affair into such a 
disposition that I may be provided to transport and fetch 
home my people : and I desire you will cause them to be 
drawn near together, that the messengers I shall employ on 
that service may easily and speedily come at speech with 

The order above alluded to having been received. Commis- 
sioners were sent by Gov. Dudley to Canada, to negotiate the 
redemption of Eunice and the other New England prison- 
ers. At the head of the Commission was Capt. John Stod- 
dard, son of the Rev. Solomon Stoddard, second minister of 
Northampton and second husband of Eunice's grandmother 
Mather. Capt. Stoddard's journal, printed from the original 


manuscript, is before me, and though it contains little per- 
taining especially to Eunice, it gives us a clue to so much of 
the romantic story of some other captives, that the substance 
of it is here given. 

On the 5th of November, 171 3, Capt. Stoddard, accompan- 
ied by Eunice's father, set out from Boston, reaching North- 
ampton on the 9th. Here they were joined by Capt. Thomas 
Baker, Martin Kellogg and two others. Baker and Kellogg 
had both been carried captive with Eunice to Canada, whence 
the former had almost succeeded in escaping, but was recap- 
tured and sentenced to the stake. The fire was already 
lighted, when with a bold dash he broke from his captors, 
and sought refuge in the house of one LeCair, a Frenchman, 
who bought him of the Indians for five pounds. The gov- 
ernor hearing of his attempt, put him in irons and kept him 
four months closely confined. When again at large, he, with 
Kellogg, Joseph Petty and John Nims, all Deerfield men, 
made his escape in 1705. Their sufferings on the way 
home were dreadful. Exhausted with fatigue and hunger, 
they fell upon their knees and prayed fervently for deliver- 
ance, when a great white bird appeared to them, such as 
they had never seen before.^ The despairing men eagerly 
seized and tore it in pieces, ate its quivering flesh and drank 
the warm blood, revived by which they finally reached Deer- 
field in safety. 

By way of Westfield and Kinderhook, Stoddard and his 
party on horseback, reached Albany in four days from North- 
ampton. Detained in Albany by a thaw which rendered the 
river impassable, they at last resumed their journey on the 
22d of January, by way of Saratoga and Crown Point. Some- 
times on snow-shoes, sometimes in canoes, and sometimes 

'According to tradition this bird was an owl. Petty's own account of his 
escape, now in Memorial Hall, Deerfield, transforms this owl into a turtle. See 
also Sheldon's Hist. Deerfield, p. 354. 


running on the frozen rivers, they reached Chambly, whence 
they were conveyed in " carryalls " ^ to Quebec, arriving there 
on the 1 6th of January. 

The next day, they presented their credentials to the gov- 
ernor and demanded the prisoners. De Vaudreuil gives 
them his word of honor as a gentleman and an officer, that 
all prisoners shall have full liberty to return, and with great 
condescension promises his blessing to all who will go. He 
tells the commissioners to go freely among the prisoners, and 
to send for them to their lodgings. Much pleased with their 
reception, and full of the hope of soon regaining their long- 
lost relatives, they take their leave. Hearing soon, however, 
that the priests and some of the laity are practising to pre- 
vent the return of the prisoners, they complain by letter to 
the governor, to which he replies that he "can as easily alter 
the course of the waters as prevent the priests' endeavors," 
adding that upon reflection he cannot grant liberty to return 
to those of the English who are naturalized, but only to such 
as are under age. They answer with clear and cogent argu- 
ments, against the naturalization pretext, and expose its in- 
consistency with De Vaudreuil's oft-repeated declaration that 
he did not care how few English stayed in Canada, the few- 
er the better for him and the country. 

For better communication with Eunice and the other Deer- 
field captives, the commissioners return to Montreal, where 
in March they hold another conference with the governor. 
With the air and speech of men who know that truth and 
justice are on their side, they reproach him with his breach 
of faith in throwing obstacles in the way of the departure of 
the prisoners, when he had at first pretended to favor it ; and 
sick with hope deferred, they demand to know the worst 
they have to expect. "Heaven forbid ! " said Dora's papa to 
David Copperfield, "that I should do any man injustice ; but 

'A carriole is a Canadian sleigh. 


I know my partner. Mr. Jorkins is not a man to respond to 
a proposition of this nature ; " — and lamented the severities 
which he was compelled to practise, by the invisible and 
inexorable Jorkins. In like manner the governor protests 
that nothing is nearer his heart than the liberation of the 
prisoners, which only the fear of the king his master, pre- 
vents his effecting at once ; and at length he hints, that if 
the so-called naturalized persons can be smuggled to a point 
below Quebec, Captain Stoddard may take them on shipboard 
as he drops down the river, and the government will not in- 

One reads the sorrow and anxiety in the heart of Mr. Wil- 
liams, as he demands that "men and women shall not be en- 
tangled by the marriages they may have contracted, nor 
parents by children born to them in captivity." The govern- 
or concedes that French women may return with their 
English husbands, that English women shall not be forced 
to stay by their French husbands, but about the children of 
such marriages, he is not so sure. 

John Carter, a Deerfield youth of Eunice's age, having ex- 
pressed his willingness to go by land, if only he may go 
home, the governor says, "If John will say this before me, 
he may go." Carter being sent for is at first awed by the 
governor's presence and denies that he has any desire to re- 
turn, but afterwards repeating what he had before said to 
Mr. Williams, De Vaudreuil is very angry, uses the lad 
roughly, and tells him he is to wait for the ship. This scene 
is frequently re-enacted, till John at last is overpowered, re- 
tracts his wish, and remains forever in Canada. 

Mr. Williams is forbidden to have any religious talk with 
the captives, and they are not allowed to visit him on the 
Sabbath. The "Lord Intendant," hearing that Mr. Williams 
had been abroad after eight o'clock in the evening to dis- 
course upon religion with some of the English, threatens 


if the offence is repeated, to confine him a prisoner in his 
lodgings ; "for," says he, "the priests tell me you undo in a 
moment all they have done in seven years to establish the 
people in our religion," — an unpremeditated compliment to 
Mr. Williams's power as a preacher. 

When Mr. Williams begs that his child may be restored 
to him, she being a minor, and the circumstances of her ed- 
ucation preventing her from knowing what is best for her, 
the governor says if her Indian relatives consent, he will 
compel her to return with her father. The government in- 
terpreter is sent to talk with her and her Indian relatives. 
The latter profess that she may do as she pleases. Knowing 
what this amounted to in John Carter's case, Mr. Williams, 
after an interview with his daughter at Caughnawaga, where 
he found the prisoners "worse than the natives," has a con- 
ference with the priests of the mission at the house of the 
governor, who makes a show of interceding in behalf of the 
afflicted father. The Jesuits reply coldly, that those of 
Caughnawaga are not held as prisoners, but have been adopt- 
ed as children, and cannot be compelled to return against 
their wishes, but will be left to entire freedom. Too well 
Mr. Williams knows the freedom which the mother church 
of the Jesuits leaves to its adopted children. The commis- 
sioners solicit her deliverance as a favor which will be ap- 
preciated by the sovereigns of the two nations, and suitably 
acknowledged by the governors of both provinces. At last, 
Mr. Williams, overcome by his feelings, represents to the 
Jesuits that it cannot benefit them to retain such children, 
while they "cannot but be sensible that their parents are 
much exercised about them," and with tears streaming down 
his face, pleads that they will do in the matter as they would 
be done by. Vain appeal to the heart that knows not the 
force of paternal love. 

In such discussion weeks were spent. The disappointment 


of Captain Stoddard, who with his personal interest in the 
restoration of Eunice to her family, had also hoped to render 
a signal service to his government ; the conflict in the soul 
of Mr. Williams, as he tried to reconcile his natural affection 
as a parent, and his spiritual anxiety as a Protestant minister 
for the salvation of the child's soul, with a due submission 
to what seemed to be the over-ruling decrees of Providence 
for her ; and the impatience and indignation of Martin Kel- 
logg and Captain Baker, who would doubtless have preferred 
to make a short cut through the difficulty by running off the 
prisoners and taking the chances of recapture, — all this is 
easier imagined than described. 

The expression of their feelings being limited by their ig- 
norance of the French language, and the inconvenience of 
speaking by an interpreter, they poured forth their souls in 
letters, in which the straightforward, plain dealing of the 
English Puritan, appears in striking contrast to the circum- 
locution and diplomacy of the French Jesuit. 

On the arrival of the brigantine Leopard from Boston, a 
final demand was made for the captives. 

The commissioners, finally compelled to abandon all hope 
of Eunice's return, insist that Madame Le Beau^ shall be al- 
lowed to depart ; and desire that Ebenezer Nims and his 
wife and child may be sent for, they being anxious to return 
but afraid to say so, "till they see themselves clear of all 
danger from the Indians." Nims, then seventeen j^-ears old, 
had been carried captive from Deerfield in 1704, and adopted 
by an Indian squaw. Sarah Hoit, a maiden of eighteen, was 
taken at the same time. When after some years, her cap- 
tors were about to resort to force to compel her to marry a 
Frenchman, she had offered to accept as her husband any 
one of her captive neighbors who would thus free her from 
her troublesome suitor. Ebenezer gladl)^ offered himself. 

'See the story of "Christine Otis." 


They were married at once, and at this time were with their 
baby boy at Lorette, eagerly hoping for deliverance. The 
governor promises that a horse or cart shall be sent for Nims's 
wife who is ill, and that all the family, unaccompanied by 
priest or Indian, shall be brought to Quebec. Captain Stod- 
dard sends his own physician to assist her on the journey. 
He returns with the information that the woman is able to 
walk to town, and that he has been grossly insulted by the 
Jesuit priest at Lorette. Nims is sent, accompanied by 
"divers Indians," but at last by the persistence of Stoddard, 
all are assembled and put on board. The next day a great 
concourse of Indians came from Lorette, and demanding to 
see Nims, were assured by him that he wished to go home. 
Then they insisted upon his giving up his child, which he 
refusing, was permitted to return with his family to his na- 
tive town. Years after, the Deerfield records tell how "Eb- 
enezer Nims, Junior, having been baptized by a Romish 
priest, in Canada, and being dissatisfied with his baptism, 
upon consenting to the articles of faith," was baptized anew 
by good Parson Ashley. 

One more effort was made by the Bishop, and high officials 
to prevent Madame Le Beau from going, but in vain. 

On the 24th of July, 17 14, after nine months absence from 
home, the commissioners set sail, having effected the deliv- 
erance of but twenty-six prisoners; as Stoddard sadly re- 
marks, "Not having received the promised list from the gov- 
ernor ;' without having our people assembled at Quebec, or 
half of them asked whether they would return or not, or one 
minor compelled ; having never seen many of our prisoners 
while we were in the country." 

This was the last official effort for the redemption of Eu- 
nice Williams. In 1740, their faithful friends, the Schuylers, 
brought about an interview between her and her relatives, 
and yielding at last to their importunities, she in later years 


thrice revisited the place of her nativity. That she insisted 
upon returning to her Canadian home, and finally died there 
at the advanced age of ninety, is to my mind, no more than 
her marriage, a proof of her preference for savage haunts 
and modes of life. It is well known that English girls, cap- 
tured at the same time, were forced into marriages with the 
French and Indians, utterly repugnant to their feelings. At 
the time of Eunice's memorable visit to Deerfield, children 
had been born to her, and to the maternal instinct, the strong- 
est passion of which the human soul is capable, even filial 
affection must yield. 

If we admit the statement that her Indian husband as- 
sumed the name of Williams,^ this, and the name of her 
father bestowed upon her eldest child, prove the lingering 
fondness in her heart for her kinsfolk. Although robbed of 
the Christian name given her by her father in baptism, she 
would not renounce the name of her race. 

Another proof that the heart of Eunice Williams never 
ceased to turn in love towards the home of her infancy, and 
that she spared no pains to perpetuate this affection in her 
descendants, is afforded by their visit nearly a hundred years 
later, to the spot from whence, on February 29, 1704, she had 
been painfully torn.- Weighing carefully the evidence, it 
seems indisputable that it was Romanism warring against 
Protestantism, Jesuit against Puritan, that held Eunice Wil- 
liams eighty-three years a captive. 

'Eunice Williams's husband is known in New England as "Amrusus." I 
believe this is a corruption of the French "Ambroise," [Ambrose,] which was 
probably given to this Christian Indian at his baptism. C. A. B. 

'•'See Appendix. 


A noted place is the Plym's mouth in Old England. On 
its blue waters have floated ships of Tyre and merchantmen 
of Massilia, Keltic coracle and Roman galley, Saxon keel and 
Norman corsair. Gallant fleets with fair foreign brides for 
English princes, have sailed into Plymouth harbor. Hither, 
too, came false Philip of Spain, on his way to his luckless 
wedding; and hence the pride of England's navy went out to 
chastise his insolent Armada. Not for these will the Plym- 
outh of England be forever famous; nor because it was 
there the Black Prince landed with his royal captives, after 
Poitiers; nor because Drake and Hawkins, and other noted 
navigators, proceeded thence on their voyages of discovery: 
but because it is the port from which those nobler heroes, 
our Pilgrim Fathers, sailed when they came to establish 
freedom and justice in the New World, planting here the 
world-renowned colony of Plymouth in New England, the 
little seed which has grown and blossomed into the grandest 
Republic on the globe. 

Ten years later than the Mayflower, with no less precious 
burden, and following in her track, another ship sailed out 
of Plymouth harbor. Before the landing of the Pilgrims, 
the coasts of Massachusetts Bay were familiar to the west of 


England seamen, and in 1623, "the merchants of the western 
counties had grown rich on the profits of the New England 

Among the more moderate Puritans of the west country 
was Rev. John White, rector of Trinity church in Dorches- 
ter. Though his name is believed to have headed the list of 
the "Adventurers for New Plymouth," thus showing his 
sympathy with the pilgrimage, he seems, at the same time, 
to have been a man to whom, personally, the mere externals 
of religion were of no vital consequence. Quaint old Fuller 
describes him as "a constant preacher, so that in the course 
of his ministry he expounded the Scriptures all over and half 

over again A good Governor, by whose wisdom the 

town of Dorchester (notwithstanding a casual merciless fire) 
was much enriched, — knowledge causing piety, piety breed- 
ing industry, and industry procuring plenty into it 

He absolutely commanded his own passions, and the purses 
of his parishioners, whom he could wind up to what height 
he pleased, on important occasions." His motives and agency 
in the settlement of Massachusetts are well known to every 
reader of our early history. In 1629, he wrote to Endicott 
"to make a place for sixty more families from Dorsetshire, 
to arrive the next spring," sundry persons from that and the 
adjoining counties being desirous to come over and settle 
together as an independent community. 

A great ship of four hundred tons, the "Mary and John", 
was chartered at Plymouth, and in March, 1630, "many good- 
ly families and persons from Devonshire, Dorsetshire and 
Somersetshire," began to assemble there. "Great pains," 
says the historian, "were evidently taken to construct this 
company of such materials as should compose a well-ordered 
settlement." Here were those two reverend servants of 
God, Mr. John Warham and Mr. John Maverick, as their 
spiritual guides. Here were Ludlow and Rossiter, whose 


position as magistrates of the company, entitled them to be 
political counsellors of the plantation. Here were Captain 
John Mason, and others of military experience, to whom 
they could trust in case of Indian attack. Here, too, were 
many whose names are familiar to us, through their descend- 
ants, men past middle age, like Thomas Ford and William 
Phelps, with adult families and ample fortunes, whose pres- 
ence lent dignity and character to the emigration; others, like 
Israel Stoughton and Roger Clap, stout-hearted, strong-armed 
young men in the prime of life both married and single, on 
whom the brunt of the actual labor of the new settlement 
would rest. 

With them to the embarkation came the faithful pastor, 
John White. He had been the soul of the enterprise, and 
many of them were his friends, neighbors and parishioners. 
How solemn must have been the scene, unequalled except 
by the memorable parting of Robinson and his flock, when, 
gathering them together in the new hospital for a day of 
fasting and prayer, he preached to them, as he and they well 
knew, the last sermon they would ever hear from his lips; 
his final words of encouragement, as they bade farewell for- 
ever to home and native land. 

In the afternoon of the same day, the people organized 
themselves into a church under the ministers whom he had 
appointed, they formally expressing their acceptance of the 
office without further ordination; and on the 20th of March 
the "Mary and John" dropped down Plymouth harbor and took 
her solitary way across the ocean. "We were of passengers 
many in number, of good rank," says Roger Clap; "so we 
came by the good hand of the Lord through the deep, com- 
fortably, having preached or expounded of the word of God 
every day for ten weeks together, by our ministers." 

After a passage of seventy days, the ship arrived at Hull. 
The place provided for the colony by Endicott was on the 


Charles River. Whether Captain Squeb supposed he had 
reached there, or whether he dared not venture farther into 
the bay without a pilot, is uncertain; but much against their 
will, he put his passengers and their cattle ashore on Nantas- 
ket point. Ten of the party, putting some of the goods into 
a boat, set out in search of a place for a permanent settle- 
ment. Threading their way in and out among the islands, 
they finally landed at Charlestown, went up the river as far 
as Watertown, and camped for a day or two on a spot to 
this day known as Dorchester fields. 

"We had not been there many days," says Roger Clap, who 
was of the party, "though by our diligence we had got up a 
kind of shelter to save our goods in, but we had order from 

the ship to come away unto a place called Mattapan, 

because there was a strip of land fit to keep our cattle on 

so we removed and came to Mattapan." 

The story of the first settlement of Massachusetts is so 
simply told by the actors in this grand drama, that we can 
hardly realize the magnitude of the enterprise. Think of 
the luxury and ease relinquished, the sorrow of parting for- 
ever from home and country, the anxieties, discomforts and 
dangers of a ten weeks' passage, and the terrible wilderness 
to be subdued before the most common wants of life could be 

Notwithstanding the scarcity and sickness of the first year, 
the colony at Mattapan, which in honor of the patriarch 
White, had received the name of Dorchester, grew and pros- 
pered. But the current of emigration, already set firmly to 
the westward, was not to be stayed at Mattapan. Rumors of 
rich bottom-lands on a great river to the west, bred discon- 
tent with the rocky soil on which they had first planted them- 
selves. This, fostered by the political ambition of some who 
were disappointed of preferment in Massachusetts, led the 
Dorchester colonists to determine upon removal. 


"Come with me now," says Cotton Mather, "to behold 
some worthy and learned and genteel persons going to be 
buried alive on the banks of Connecticut, having been first 
slain by the ecclesiastical persecutions of Europe." At mid- 
summer of 1635, a few pioneers from Dorchester reached the 
Great River, and near the Plymouth trading house, set up two 
years before by William Holmes, began to make preparation 
for a settlement. On the 1 5th of October, "the main body of the 
emigration, about sixty men, women and children" set forth 
from Dorchester on the long and toilsome journey to the val- 
ley of the Connecticut. Like a bit of romance from the mid- 
dle ages, — like the vanguard of some great army of Crusa- 
ders, seems the march of this valiant little band. 

Day after day in the beautiful October weather, driving 
their cattle before them, they wound their way through the 
trackless wilderness, a compass their only guide. The brill- 
iant leaves of autumn fluttered softly to their feet as they 
tramped through the tranquil forest, singing their pious 
hymns; and the frolicsome squirrel, scared from his harvest- 
ing, ceased his chatter as they passed. With prayer and 
praise, for fourteen days they journeyed on, but when they 
reached their destination, the autumnal glory had departed, 
the leafless trees sighed and shivered in the wintry gale, and 
the cold gray river gave them sullen welcome. We will not 
dwell upon the horrors of that winter. The spring brought 
many of their friends, who had been left behind at first, and 
the little settlement, known to us in later times as Windsor, 
was called Dorchester, a name dear to the hearts of so many 
of those weary Pilgrims. 

Among "the precious men and women," whom we may 
suppose to have come with the Dorchester Company in 1630, 
and to have borne their share of the trials and sufferings of 
the new settlements, were Isaac Sheldon, his wife, whose 
name is unknown, and their infant son. Of his ancestry we 


have no definite knowledge. The name was at that time 
an honorable one in England, and is still found among 
the nobility and gentry of several English counties. In 
the list of "The worthies of Somersetshire since the time of 
Fuller," is the name of "that most munificent and generous 
prelate," Gilbert Sheldon, born in 1 598, "descended from the 
ancient family of Sheldons of Staffordshire," and Archbishop 
of Canterbury in 1663. 

Isaac Sheldon's name appears in Dorchester in 1634, as of 
Warham's congregation, but not of the church. He removed 
to Windsor with the emigration of 1635, and there we find 
him four years later, the owner of a house, barn, orchard 
and home lot. The following, from Windsor town records, 
evidently referring to his son, then a young, unmarried man, 
seems to prove that Isaac, the elder, was not living at this 
date : 

"Sept. 13, 1652. It is assented that Isaac Sheldon and Samuel 
Rockwell shall keep house together in the house that is Isaac's, so 
they carry themselves soberly, and do not entertain idle persons, to 
the evil expense of time by night or day." 

In explanation of the above, it may be said that the stat- 
utes of our fathers for the prevention of vice were many. 
The family was next in sacredness to the church. Every 
newly-wedded couple was expected to set up a home, and at 
once to enter upon household duties. In good old Colonial 
days, the young husband could not lounge away his evenings 
smoking at his club, while his bride dawdled away hers in 
the petty gossip of boarding-house parlors ; and married per- 
sons of either sex, remaining long in the colony without 
their respective partners, were made to send for them, or 
were themselves ordered back to England as disreputable. 
No inhabitant was admitted unless approved by the town, 
and every householder was called to strict account for his visit- 
ors, and made answerable for their good conduct and solvency. 


In Windsor, "no master of a family" might "give habita- 
tion or entertainment to any young man to sojourn in his 
family, but by the allowance of the town," and "no young 
man that had not a servant, or was not a public officer, might 
keep house by himself without permission from the town 
under a penalty of twenty shillings a week," Wherefore, in 
1652, his father being dead, Isaac Sheldon, Junior, then about 
twenty-three years of age, obtained permission to live on the 
homestead, and to take as his companion, Samuel Rockwell, 
a son of one of the early settlers also deceased. The arrange- 
ment was of short duration, for Isaac having married Mary 
Woodford in 1653, sold out to Rockwell the same year, and 
with his wife and infant daughter, removed to Northampton, 
among the first settlers of that town. 

Isaac and Mary Woodford vSheldon were blessed with thir- 
teen children, John Sheldon of Deerfield, their second son 
and third child, was born in Northampton, Dec. 5, 1658. 
Among the companions of his childhood, were John and 
Benoni Stebbins, sons of John Stebbins of Northampton, and 
grandsons of old Rowland Stebbins of Springfield, In 1679, 
while yet lacking a month of his majority, he married their 
sister, Hannah Stebbins, she being then but fifteen years and 
four months old. The boy husband and his child wife re- 
mained in Northampton until after the birth of their first 
two children ; but the pioneer spirit was born in him, and 
we find him soon, with his young family, among the found- 
ers of a frontier settlement, as his father and grandfather 
had been before him. 

In another story are detailed the unsuccessful attempts at 
the settlement of Deerfield up to 1682. Among the very first 
of those by whom the town was permanently established, 
were John Sheldon and his wife's brothers, John and Benoni 

John Sheldon is first mentioned in the town records of 


Deerfield in 1686, when he was chosen on a committee "to 
lay out all the woodlands." By this same meeting the Dor- 
chester schoolmaster, John Williams, was called to be their 
pastor. The same year vSheldon was chosen on the first board 
of Selectmen, and re-elected almost every year until 1704. 
The legislative and executive powers of this board were then 
very great. 

When in 1689, the people rose in their strength against 
Andro.s, and a "council for the safety of the people" headed 
by old vSimon Bradstreet, the last of the Puritans, summoned 
a convention of delegates from the several towns of Massa- 
chusetts to deliberate upon the future government, it was a 
bold but justifiable act. Successful or not, it was treason; 
and if unsuccessful, its movers would pay the penalty. No 
town meeting appears to have been called in Deerfield, but 
John Sheldon did not hesitate. He, as Chairman of the 
board of vSelectmen, took, with them, the responsibility of 
sending Lieut. Thomas Wells as delegate to the convention, 
signing with them his credentials as "We the Town of Deer- 
field." After the massacre at Schenectady, the town of 

"Att a Leagall Town meeting Feb' 26. 1689-90 Voted that y'' shall 
be a good sufficient fortification made upon the meeting hous 
hill : 

Thatt all persons whose families cannot conveniently and comfort- 
ably be received into y^ houses y* are already upon y^ meeting hous 
hill and shall be w"'n the fortifications : such persons shall have 
habitations provided for y'" w^'n s'^ fortifications att the Town charg 
but any p''son or p'"sons y' shall provide habitations for y"'selves shall 
be exempt from y^' charges afores" : 

ThatSgt Jn" Sheldon Benoni Stebbins & Edward AUyn shall have 
full pow'' to appoint where every persons hous or cellar shall stand 
w*^ bigness y'* shall be." 

On the death of Lieut. Thomas Wells, in 1691, his brother 


Jonathan was appointed in his place, and Sheldon, who had 
been also recommended by John Pynchon for the lieuten- 
ancy, was made ensig-n. In 1693, we find him deacon of the 
church; the next year, on the committee to build a new meet- 
ing-house, and on various other committees; and in 1696, on 
the committee to seat the meeting house. In 1697, he, with 
Jonathan Wells, was appointed to look over old papers and 
"direct the Town Clerk to record such as should be re- 
corded." To the discretion and labors of this committee, 
Deerfield owes the preservation of four pages of very valuable 
matter on its town records. On these records, we find no 
busier man than John Sheldon, none whose voice was more 
often sought in the prudential affairs of the town. He was 
chosen to measure the meadow lands, and to settle the 
bounds between neighbors. He served as tythingman and 
school committee, and was very often moderator of the town 
meetings. In short, John Sheldon was a prominent man in 
the early history of Deerfield, successfully administering 
those important town offices, which require the most prudent 
foresight, and the most candid and impartial judgment. 

While under the watchful care of John Sheldon, and others 
as faithful, the puny settlement was struggling for an exist- 
ence, the mine for its destruction was already in train. 
Glance for a moment at the situation: Romish New France 
in the north; Romish New Spain at the south; between these, 
as between the upper and nether millstones, Protestant New 
England and New Netherlands occupying the debatable 
ground; for years a political struggle for territory between 
the three last named. The Lieutenant-General of Canada 
sends over the ice and snow, and nails his arms to the trees 
on the English limits; the English quietly push towards 
Acadia, and hold their ground at the Great Bay of the north. 
The treacherous savage, ready to trade his peltry or sell his 
prowess to the highest bidder, to-day tears down the King's 


crest from the trees and carries it in derision into Orange, 
and to-morrow begs the Lieutenant-General to send him 
"black gowns" to teach him about the Frenchman's God. 
There are plots and counterplots. The black gown writes to 
Canada "that the Governor of New York, who is coming to 
speak to the Five Nations, has sent a shabby ship's flag, bear- 
ing the arms of England, to be set up among them, which is 
still in the Mohawks' public chest" and he knows not when it 
will see day. 

Complications arising from the accession of the Prince of 
Orange, and later, the succession of Anne to the English 
throne, afford the excuse for more open hostilities. In the 
French Archives of the period, may be found the links of 
that chain by which the pastor and people of Deerfield were 
to be held in bondage. There, in detail, is the policy of 
the French, which is by embroiling the eastern Indians with 
the English, under the pretext that the latter have encroached 
upon their hunting grounds, to incite them to fall upon 
the frontier towns: then under the plea that being at war 
with the English they can no longer live on English soil, by 
promises of support and protection, to induce them to remove 
near to Quebec and Montreal, whither they will attract much 
trade, and where they will become a powerful ally of the 
French in the prosecution of the war. 

There are protests from the Canadian Governor against 
the trespasses of the English; threats of the French King of 
what will happen to Boston if the English do not keep with- 
in their limits; the fears of Frontenac that the Acadians may 
incline to the English, "as they are too far from French suc- 
cor in case of trouble" between the two nations. There are 
instructions from the French minister to the Governors of Aca- 
dia and Canada, so to manage affairs that the Abenakis shall 
find it more advantageous to live by war than by the chase; 
notes on the political services of Fathers Rasle and Bigot; 


letters of commendation and gifts of money to Father Thury 
for his share in the bloody work; reports of the conferences 
of the chiefs with the governor at Quebec, and the diplo- 
matic falsehoods and fair promises of the latter; lists of pres- 
ents and supplies for the Indians: Brazilian tobacco, ver- 
milion, kettles of all sizes, blue serge, a jacket with gold 
facings, a shirt, hat, pair of shoes and stockings for one of the 
chiefs, and a "shift for his daughter, of whom he was very 
fond;" orders for ''tufts of Avhite feathers," costing a few cen- 
times in Paris, to designate the savages in night attacks; 
weapons, and provisions, flour, molasses, butter, and "plenty 
of brandy, without which they will not act efficiently." 

Ever since the building of her stockade, Deerfield had 
been in a state of alarm. Repeated sallies had been made 
by the enemy, and several of the inhabitants had been killed, 
and others carried into captivity. The distress of the people 
will be seen from the following extract from a letter of their 
pastor to the governor praying for an abatement of taxes, 
and dated Oct. 21st, 1703: 

"We have been driven from our houses & home lots into the fort, 
some a mile, some 2 miles, whereby we have suffered much 

loss, the whole town kept in; our children of 12 or 13 years 

and under, we have been afraid to improve in the field, for fear 

of the enemy; we have been crowded togather into houses, 

to the preventing indoor affairs being carryed on to any advantage 
& must be constrained to expend at least 50^ to make any com- 
fortable provision of housing if we stay togather in cold weather: 

so that our losses are far more than would have paid our taxes 

i would request your Excellency so far to commiserate as to do 
what may be encouraging to persons to venture their all in the fron- 
tiers, and that they may have something allowed them in mak- 
ing the fortification; we have mended it, it is in vain to mend, & 
must make it all new, & fetch timber for 206 rod, 3 or 4 miles if 
we get oak." 


Thanks to the Deerfield historian, whose study of the 
"Antient Records" seems to have come to him by direct de- 
scent, we can reconstruct the village as it was in the winter 
of 1703-4. In the north-west corner of the rebuilt fortifica- 
tions, stood the house of Ensign John Sheldon, a two-story 
front, 42x21, and a one-story lean-to or kitchen. It needs no 
description. The appearance of the "Old Indian House," as it 
was called ever after that fatal day, is familiar to many. He 
had built it in 1696, to accommodate his growing family. It 
was probably the largest and the best in town, and the hos- 
pitalities to this day so generously dispensed on that spot, 
began with Landlord Sheldon. 

Lulled by frequent false alarms into a fatal sense of secu- 
rity, John Sheldon and his neighbors slept soundly on the 
night of the 29th of February, 1704. The bitter cold pene- 
trated even his well-built dwelling, the drifted snow lay piled 
outside against the palisades, the wind shrieked as it tore the 
dry branches from the trees and hurled them far over the 
frozen crust ; but no consciousness of unusual danger dis- 
turbed their slumbers. Yet with the rushing of each fitful 
gust, running with it from the north and pausing as it ceased, 
the cruel foe was creeping stealthily nearer to the little ham- 
let. The stormy night was well-nigh spent, the guard lay 
heavy in his first sleep, when "the enemy came in like a 
flood." Pouring over the palisades, heaving and tossing like 
the angry billows of a stormy sea, roaring and rushing to 
and fro within the fortification, the horrid crowd surged 
about the houses of the defenseless people. Roused by their 
hideous yells, the vSleepers woke bewildered to find them- 
selves surrounded by dusky faces fiendish with fresh war 
paint. Resistance was vain ; some were instantly murdered ; 
others, powerless from fear, were fiercely torn from their 
warm beds, bound hand and foot, and hurried out half naked 
into the bitter night. Deafened by the tumult, blinded by 


Thanks to the Deerfield historian, whose study of the 

"Antient Records" seems to have come to him by direct de- 

• . we can reconstruct the village as it was in the winter 

; I, In the north-west corner of the rebuilt fortifica- 

od the house of Ensign John Sheldon, a two-story 

, and a one-«tory lean-to or kitchen. It needs no 

The appearance of the "Old Indian House," as it 

or after that fatal day, is familiar to many. He 

late his growing family. It 

^^est in town, and the hos- 

lispensied on th;U spot, 


r the 
of unusual danger dis- 
.... Jie nishing of each fitful 
le north and pausing as it ceased, 
foe was creeping stealthily nearer to the little ham- 
stormy night was well-nigh spcr*^ •'• -^ ^ • 

h- . his sleep, when "the enem- 

flood. Pouring over the palisades, heaving and t( 
the : ' Hows of a stormy sea, roa ' ' 

and 1 in the fortification, the ^ed 

about the of the defenseless 1 by their 

hideous yd. keepers woke bcv.-,.c;ci;..u to find them- 

selves surroL dusky faces fiendish with fresh war 

paint. Resistarj' ain : some were instantly murdered ; 

others, powerless hum ere fiercely torn from, their 

<• "-m beds, bound hand ...... . -c. and hurried out half naked 

the bitter night. Deafened by the tumult, blinded by 


the glare of torches, driven like sheep to the shambles, they 
were huddled together in the meeting house, where but yes- 
terday their faithful shepherd had folded his flock in peace. 
Confusion and terror reigned. The place which they had 
been taught to regard as the house of God was now defiled 
and desecrated. There, where so lately their voices had 
mingled in prayer and praise, could now be heard only the 
groans of the wounded, the wailing of women, the shrieks 
of the children and the tremulous voices of the aged calling 
on God to "remember mercy in the midst of judgment." 

Hard by, in the house of Benoni Stebbins, seven heroic 
men, bravely seconded by their wives, for three hours kept 
at bay the combined force of French and Indians. With 
their children clinging to them in fright, unceasingly the 
women moulded the bullets, resolutely the men stood at their 
posts. The leaden hail beat steadily down upon the assail- 
ants. Fiercer and higher on the keen air, rose the yells of 
the baffled foe. 

Not far away, in his own house, pinioned and helpless, but 
calm and steadfast, the pastor of the little flock, surrounded 
by his terrified family, as he "was able committed their state 
to God, praying that they might have grace to glorify His 
name, whether in life or death." 

For a time, the well built and firmly bolted door of John 
Sheldon's house proved an effectual barrier against the sav- 
ages. Sacred historic door! Door of the ark of the cove- 
nant wert thou to our fathers in the olden time. Built of no 
costly material, thy posts were not inlaid with shell; no gold 
adorns thy panels. Fleart of oak art thou, fit type of the 
heroes who framed thee ; sturdy and strong in their defence 
as they, in defence of their liberty, — ye yielded never! 
More to us than Grecian sculptures are thy carvings by In- 
dian tomahawk, and thy wrought spikes, more precious than 
bosses of silver and gold ! 


Maddened at last by their baffled efforts, they hacked and 
hewed at it till the hole was cut, which is still to be seen in 
it.^ Through this they fired at random, killing Sheldon's 
wife, who was dressing herself in bed in the room at the 
right of the door. Finally swarming in at the windows and 
rudely awaking Mary Sheldon, a maiden of sixteen, from 
sweet dreams of her lover, they captured her and her young 
brothers, Ebenezer and Remembrance ; and killed their lit- 
tle sister, Mercy, a child of three years. Their eldest broth- 
er, John, had married three months before, Hannah Chapin 
of vSpringfield. During the preparation of the bridal outfit, 
her mother, loath to have her encounter the perils of a fron- 
tier settlement, yet with that strange inconsistency with 
which we often make a jest of the saddest things in life, 
advised her to have a pelisse made of unusual thickness, as 
she might need it if she were carried off by the Indians. On 
the first alarm she and her husband, who were occupying the 
east chamber of his father's house, jumped together from 
the window. vSpraining her ankle, and unable to save her- 
self, she urged her husband to leave her and alarm the nearest 
village. At her entreaties he stripped up a blanket, and 
binding it about his bare feet, ran to Hatfield. His heroic 
bride was captured with the rest. 

At daybreak, Hertel de Rouville rallied his troops for the 
retreat, and the shivering captives began their painful march. 
The sorrows of that awful journey cannot be described. 
Snow-blind and starving, with aching hearts, and frozen 
limbs, and bleeding feet, they staggered on for twenty-five 
days. Arriving at Chambly in detached parties, they were 
separated, some remaining with their Indian captors, others 
bought by the French of Montreal and Quebec. 

Let tis return to the desolated village whence they had 
been so cruelly snatched. Of the whereabouts of John Shel- 

'This door is preserved in Memorial Hail at Deerfield. 


don the elder, on that fearful night, we know nothing, but 
we cannot suppose him to have been idle or panic stricken. 
He may have been with the gallant band that fell upon the 
enemy's rear that morning,^ abandoning the pursuit only 
when retaliation threatened the captives. What must have 
been his feelings and those of his neighbors equally bereft, 
as they walked among the still smoking ashes of their once 
happy homes, searching among the dead and dying for traces 
of their kindred. His daughter, Hannah, whose husband, 
Joseph Catlin, was slain in the meadow fight, his little grand- 
child, and his married son, were all that were left of John 
Sheldon's family. In the spring days that followed, the 
scanty remnant of these three households sat round his 
cheerless hearthstone, and talked sadly of their dead, and of 
those far away in captivity worse than death. Vaguely at 
first he thought of their possible rescue, but as the gloomy 
summer wore on, his dream became a definite purpose, and 
he announced his determination to devote his remaining en- 
ergies to the redemption of his children and townsfolk. 

Meanwhile their captors were jubilant. Exaggerated re- 
ports of their success were made to the French Minister, by 
the Governor and the Intendant of Canada : 

A letter of this period from De Vaudreuil to the Minister, 
says : 

"The Sieur de Rouville desires. My Lord, that you would 

have the goodness to think of his promotion, having been, invari- 
ably in all the expeditions that presented themselves, and being still 

actually with the Abenakis The Sieur de Rouvilles party, 

My Lord, has accomplished everything expected of it, for in- 
dependent of the capture of a fort,^ it showed the Abenakis 
that they could truly rely on our promises ; and this is what they 

' "The Meadow Fight." 


told me at Montreal on the 13th of June when they came to 
thank me."' 

A letter to the Minister from the Governor and the In- 
tendant of Canada, written at the same time, contains the 
following : 

"We had the honor to report to you last year. My Lord, the rea- 
sons which had obliged us to embroil the English with the Aben- 

akis, The English having killed some of these Indians, they 

sent us word of it, and demanded assistance. 

This obliged us. My Lord, to send thither the Sieur de Rouville 
an officer of the line, with nearly two hundred men who attacked a 
fort^ in which according to the report of all the prisoners, there 
were more than one hundred men under arms ; they took more than 
one hundred and fifty prisoners, including men and women, and re- 
treated, having lost only three men and some twenty wounded."'^ 

A deptitation of the Abenakis waited upon their "father," 
the governor, "to bear witness to the pleasure he had given 
them in avenging them against the English," and he in turn, 
congratulated his "children" upon their united victory over 
their "common enemy." Mr. Parkman .says, "Except their 
inveterate habit of poaching on Acadian fisheries, the people 
of New England had not provoked these barbarous attacks." 

The correspondence between the governors of the two 
provinces during several years previous to the sacking of 
Deerfield, in which one or the other is constantly demanding 
or receiving satisfaction for the seizure of vessels, shows that 
privateering was common to both parties even during a nom- 
inal peace. In one of these poaching expeditions, the Eng- 
lish had seized a Frenchman, known in our annals as Cap- 

'Letter from M. de Vaudreuil to M. do Pontchartrain, yuebec, i6th gber 
1704. N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IX. p. 759. 


^Letter from Messieurs De Vaudreuil and De Beauharnois to M. de Pont- 
chartrain, yuebec, 17th November, 1704. N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IX. p. 762. 


tain Baptiste, who had proved himself a spy and a traitor in 
the service of both governments, and who was, moreover, a 
wholly imprincipled fellow, having besides his Acadian wife, 
several others in different parts of the world. As from his 
knowledge of the coast, he was very necessary to the Aca- 
dian government, one Le Fevre was sent to Boston in the 
autumn of 1702,10 demand his release. War having been in 
the meantime declared, Dudley detained Le Fevre, and flatly 
refused to surrender Baptiste. In concluding his letter to 
the governor of Port Royal, he says, "As for the exchange 
of prisoners, when I shall be advised of the settlement of a 
cartel properly, I shall embrace it as being very usefull. In 
the meantime I must desire that the subjects of her Majesty 
the Queen, my Sovereign Lady, may have the good fortune 
to keep them.selves out of the Inconveniences of a captivity, 
though never so easy and short."' How grievously this hope 
was disappointed, we have already seen. 

When the Deerfield pastor and his fellow captives reached 
Canada, the "Governor told me," says Mr. Williams, "that I 
should be sent home as soon as Captain Battis was returned 
and not before, and that I was taken in order to his redemp- 

In April, 1704, and again in August, Dudley despatched let- 
ters by way of Albany, to the Canadian governor, upbraiding 
his conduct of the war as unlawful and unchristian. "You 
have boasted," he says, "of massacring my poor women and 
children, and carrying away into a miserable captivity the 
reste, and they are made a matter of trade between the Sav- 
ages and the subjects of your master, under your govern- 
ment I write you this to tell you that such treatment 

of Christians will be esteemed barbarous by all Europe, and 
I expect you to withdraw all these Christian captives from 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. V. p. 612. 

' "The Redeemed Captive," p. 48, Edition of MDCCC. 


the hands of savages, and return them to me, as I have sev- 
eral times returned your people to Port Royal, and shall con- 
tinue to do, until I have your reply to this."' 

In his August letter he offers an equal exchange of pris- 
oners, and threatens reprisals if a more honorable treatment 
of the captives is not guaranteed. "I cannot admit the pre- 
text," he says, "that the Indians have the right to retain these 
prisoners, because I would never permit a savage to tell me 
that any Christian prisoner is at his disposal.""^ From Dud- 
ley's point of view, it seemed absurd for the Governor-Gen- 
eral of New France to declare that he could not compel the 
Indians to give up their English captives. 

The difficulties of his position will be better understood, if 
we remember that he had made the savages his tools, by prom- 
ising them a chance to avenge themselves upon the English. 
Receiving no satisfaction from the French governor, Dud- 
ley, the last of September, proposed to his council that "Ar- 
thur Jeffrey, being attended with two French prisoners of 
war, be sent by way of vSaint John's River to Quebeck, with 
letters to the governor, referring to the English prisoners 
there and to concert a method of exchange." 

The departure of Jeffrey was doubtless prevented by the 
arrival of Jonn Sheldon at Boston. He was attended by 
young John Wells of Deerfield, whose mother, Hepzibah 
Belding, was one of the captives. On Wednesday, Dec. 13th, 
1704, the governor acquainted his council that he had re- 
ceived no answer to his letter sent the preceding summer to 
the governor of Quebec, relating to the English prisoners, 
and that "it was doubtful if those letters found safe convey- 
ance," "as also that John Sheldon and John Wells of 

Deerfield, who both had relations in captivity there, were 
now attending him, and very urgent to have license to trav- 

'Dudley to De Vaudreuil, April 10, 1704 ) B. P. Poore Coll. 
* " " " Aug. 21, " f in Mass. Archives. 


ail thither, their being also two French prisoners used to that 
Rhode, who have their relations here, that are willing to ac- 
company the said Englishmen with his Excellency's letters, 
and to see them safely returned at the peril of having their 
near relations here exposed." 

His Excellency proposed the conveying them by water to 
Casco, thence to take the direct course through the country 
to Quebec "in order to find out how many prisoners are in 
that country and to make way for their release in the spring." 

Fortunately for John vSheldon, within the week Capt. Liv- 
ingston of New York appeared in Boston, and 
"At a Council held in Boston on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 1704, His Ex- 
cellency acquainted the Council, that since their last setting and 

advice for sending messengers to Quebec to negotiate the 

affair about the Exchange of Prisoners, he had discoursed that mat- 
ter with Capt. John Livingston now in town who had been several 
times there, was well acquainted in the severall parts and the way 
thither from the upper towns of this province which he accounted 
to be more safe than to Travaile through the Eastern Country's and 
that said Livingston would undertake that service accompanyed 
with Mr. Shelden and Wells without any Frenchmen to have a hun- 
dred pounds for his sirvice and his expenses borne. Upon consid- 
eration of the greater safety and certainty of this way and the charge 
saved of a vessel and men that must necessarily be Employed the 
other way, besides the fitting out the Frenchmen, and the incon- 
veniencies that might happen upon their going : as also the accom- 
plishment of Capt. Livingston for such a service. It was Advised 
that he be Imployed accordingly and his Excellency communicated 
his letters to the Governor of Canada to be sent by them."' 

Duplicates of Dudley's letters sent and unanswered during 
the preceding summer, were prepared and with them the 
following :' 

'Council Records, Vol. dated 1703-8, p. 128, Mass. Archives. 
^B. P. Poore Coll. Vol. 5, p. 215. 


"Boston, Dec. 20, 1704. 
Sir : 

The enclosed' were sent some time since by way of 
Albany ; but fearing that they have miscarried I send you herewith 

Messrs. Livingston and Sheldon envoys, with John Wells, to 

carry you this and to inform you that I have in my hands about 150 
prisoners On the return of my envoys with a list of my cap- 
tives whom you have in your hands, I would willingly have yours 

transported this spring as far as Penobscot Should the 

winter be so severe as to oblige my envoys to remain until the rigor 
of winter is passed, you will if agreeable to you, send an Indian to 
the fort at Casco Bay with a letter informing me when and where I 
may send a shallop to meet yours from Quebec, in order that the 

exchange may be made You will have the goodness to let 

my envoys return as soon as they can safely do so, with your de- 
cision on this subject, in order that I may have your prisoners ready 
to deliver up on receipt of your reply in regard to those of my peo- 
ple now in your hands : and to grant my envoys opportunity for 
the freest conference with you as to what is most advantageous in 
this business. 

I am with all respect. Sir, 
your very humble and obedient servant." 

With these credentials, Sheldon and his companions took 
the Bay Path for Deerfield,"^ tarrying at Hatfield on the way 
to procure their outfit of Colonel Partridge. 

I will not attempt to describe the stir in the village when 
it was known that Mr. Sheldon was there, en route for Cana- 
da, as an agent of the government in behalf of the suffering 
town. Pausing only for a brief good-bye, burdened with 
messages of love to the dear ones in bondage, and followed 

'Duplicates of Dudley's April and August letters to De Vaudreull. 

^The "Bay Path," followed the present Boston and Albany railroad to 
Springfield; thence via Hatfield to Deerfield. Thence the envoys proceeded 
over Hoosac Mountain to Albany. A guide post in Deerfield still points the 
way "To Albany." 


by the blessings of all, the party pushed on over Hoosac 
Mountain to Albany. We have a glimpse of them there, be- 
fore they plunge into the pathless forest, in a scrap of paper 
containing an account, on which in Sheldon's hand-writing, 
is endorsed, "what i paid to captain levenston at hotsoen 

We need not go back to King Arthur for exploits of chiv- 
alry ; our colonial history is full of them. This man, long 
past the daring impulses of youth ; this youth, whose life was 
all before him ; show me two braver knights-errant setting 
out with loftier purpose on a more perilous pilgrimage. 

Three hundred miles of painful and unaccustomed tramp- 
ing on snow-shoes in mid-winter, over mountain and morass, 
through tangled thickets and "snow-clogged forest," where 
with fell purpose the cruel savage lurked ; with gun in hand, 
and pack on back, now wading knee-deep over some rapid 
stream, now in the teeth of the fierce north wind, toiling 
over the slippery surface of the frozen lake, now shuffling 
tediously along in the sodden ice of some half-thawed river; 
digging away the drifts at night for his camp ; wet, lame,' 
half-famished and chilled to the bone, hardly daring to kindle 
a fire ; a bit of dried meat from his pack for a supper, spruce 
boughs for his bed; crouching there wrapped in his blanket, 
his head muffled in the hood of his capote, eye and ear alert, 
his mittened hand grasping the hilt of the knife at his belt ; 
up at daybreak and on again, through storm and sleet, pelted 
by pitiless rains, or blinded by whirling snow: what iron 
will and nerves of steel, sound mind in sound body, to dare 
and do what this man did. 

Of the date of John Sheldon's arrival in Canada, we are 
ignorant. We can only guess at the impressions of the sturdy 
Puritan yeoman as he first stood upon the rock of Quebec, 
surrounded by "the appendages of an old established civil- 
ization." Strange sights and sounds must have greeted him 


as he vsat in his inn on the great square. The "noisy bush- 
ranger" and the "befeathered Indian" swaggered about the 
door. "Phimed officers," with squads of soldiers in slouched 
hats, and "arquebus on shoulder," marched quickly at tap of 
drum up to the fort. Processions bearing relics of the saints, 
filed in at the cathedral door, — the gaunt Jesuit in black cas-- 
sock and rosary, the gray gown of the Recollet friar, the 
Seminary priest in sable robe, with his band of boys in blue, 
pale nuns in white cornets and clad in serge, with their 
pupils, among whom is more than one English face. News of 
his arrival spread up and down the river, "reviving the 
drooping spirits of the captives." Far different was its ef- 
fect upon their captors. Stephen Williams, the minister's 
son, was in the hands of a St. Francis Indian, who demanded 
forty crowns for his ransom. Mr. Williams had prevailed 
upon the governor to offer thirty. The savage stood out, 
and, leaving the boy with his wife, went off to hunt. "When 
Mr. Sheldon was come to Canada," says Stephen in his ac- 
count,^ "my mistress thought there would be an exchange of 
prisoners, and lest the French should then take me away for 
nothing, she removed up in y^ woods about half a mile from 
y*" river, y' if they came they might not find me." Having 
offended her a few days after, by slighting some heavy work 
given him to do, "the squaw," says the eleven-years-old child, 
"was very angry. 'I will not beat you myself,' says she, 'for 
my husband ordered me to the contrary, but will tell y'' Jes- 
uit, y'' next time he comes.' Within a day or two y^ 

Jesuit comes, she was as good as her word, did complain ; he 
takes me out and whips me w"' a whip w"' six cords, several 
knots in each cord." 

As soon as possible, the envoys delivered their letters to the 
governor, by whose permission Mr. Williams came up from 

'Narrative of the captivitj' of Stephen Williams, written by himself. Ed- 
ited by Hon. George Sheldon, 1889. 


Chateau-Richer, where he had been sent to prevent his in- 
terference with the conversion of his people by the Jesuits. 
From him Sheldon heard that his children were living, and 
John Wells learned the sad tidings of his mother's murder. 
He told them the harrowing tale of the march to Canada, 
and the details of the captivity. Deacon Sheldon was greatly 
exercised by his account of the craft and cruelty employed 
by the French "to ensnare the young, and to turn them from 
the simplicity of the Gospel to Romish superstition." 

Mr. Williams doubtless accompanied the envoys to their 
first audience with the governor. The good deacon, in his 
home-spun garments, must have felt himself in strange con- 
trast with the other occupants of the council hall ; the gov- 
ernor majestic and surrounded by the brilliant uniforms of 
his guard ; the haughty intendant ; popinjay pages loitering 
about, stern old warriors bedecked with medals, gay young 
sprigs of the nobility in elegant apparel, "Jesuits, like black 
spectres, gliding in and out." As Mr. Williams .saw the dig- 
nity of his fellow-townsman, unabashed by all this parade, 
he perhaps thought of the proverb, "Seest thou a man dili- 
gent in his business, he shall stand before kings ; he shall not 
stand before mean men." 

The deputies received little satisfaction from their con- 
ferences with the governor. "God's time of deliverance," 
.says Mr. Williams, "was not yet come." Monsieur de Vau- 
dreuil was civil and diplomatic. He says that the Indians 
are his allies, not his subjects ; he has, therefore, no real 
right to demand the captives from them. They might per- 
haps be ransomed, but, "knowing Monsieur Dudley's resolu- 
tion not to 'set up an Algiers trade' by the purchase of pris- 
oners," he dares not take the responsibility. As to an ex- 
change of those in the hands of the French, he hardly sees 
what basis for that can be arranged, since he learns by the 
list of French prisoners sent him that the governor of Bos- 


ton has permitted some Port Royalists, who should have 
been sent home with the exchange, to embark for the West 
Indies. Moreover, there is Baptiste. 

The days passed in alternation of hope and discourage- 
ment. Fair promises were succeeded by evasion and delay. 
Mr. Williams was refused permission to go up to Montreal 
to talk with his children and neighbors, and sent back to 

Leaving Mr. Sheldon to push the search for his children 
and the other captives, many of whom had been put out of 
sight, Mr. Livingston set out for Boston on the i8th of March 
to state the situation of affairs and carry De Vaudreuil's let- 
ter to the governor, but returned to Quebec on the 26th, the 
ice being unsafe. On the 29th, Mr. Sheldon received a let- 
ter from his son's wife in Montreal, which probably gave 
him the first definite intelligence of his children. It appears 
to have enclosed a letter from one of her fellow-captives, 
who, on indirect evidence, I assume to be James Adams, cap- 
tured at Wells, in 1703, with Samuel Hills and others. Of 
the letter and its enclosure, only the following scrap, in a 
beautiful hand-writing, remains : 

"I pray you my kind loue to Landlord Shelden, and tell Him I 
am sorry for all his Los. I doe in these few lines showe youe that 
God has shone yo grat kindness and marcy, In carrying your Daigh- 
ter Hanna, and Mary in partickeler through soe grat a iorney far 
behiend my expectations noing how Lame they was, the Rest of 
your children are with the Indians. Remenibrance lives near ca- 
bect, Hannah does Liues with the frenc In the same house I doe." 

Mr. Sheldon's reply to his daughter-in-law is dated : 

"Quebec the i of Aperl, 1705. 
der child 

this is to let you noe that i received yours the 29th of March 

which was a comfort to me I am whele, blessed be God for 

it, and i may tell you i dont here of my child as it [yet], the saye 


is that he is in the wodes a hunten. remember my loue to Mr. Ad- 
dams and his wif and iudah Writ and all the reste as if named and 
my harty desire is that god would in his own good time opene a dore 
of deliuerans fore you al, and the meanwhile let us wait with pa- 
tiens one God for it, hoe can bring lite out of darkness and let us 
cast al our care one god who doeth care for us and can helpe us 
Mr Williams is sent down the riuer agane eighteen or twenty miles, 
I did enjoy his company about three wekes, wh'''' was a comfort to 
me, he giues his loue to al the captives there. My desire is that Mr 
Addams and you wod doe al you can with your mistress that my 
children mite be redeemed from the Indanes. Our post returned 
bake again in 8 days by reson of the badnes of the ise, they goe 
again the seckont of this month, and i desire to com up to Montreal 
the beginen of May. John Wels and Ebcnezer Warner giues ther 
loue to al the captiues ther, and so rites your louen father 

John Sheldon." 

Between the date of the above and the seventh, on which 
the post is to start again, Mr. Sheldon is busy writing- letters. 
The following, dated April 2d, 1705, is the remnant of that 
sent by this post to his son John, at Deerfield : 

"deer child this fue lines are to let you noe i am in good helth at 
this time blessed be God for it. i may tell you that we sent away 
a post the i8th day of March, they ware gone 8 days and returned 
a gane by reson that the ise was soe bad. this may let you noe I 
receiued a letter from your wife the 29th of March and she was 
whel. i may let you noe i haint sene none of my children but here 
they are gone a hunten." 

On the 7th of April, Samuel Hills of Wells, who gladly 
gave his parole for the opportunity of vi.siting his friends, 
accompanied by two Frenchmen named Dubois, set out for 
Boston with letters from the envoys and the governor of Can- 
ada. They went across the country and down the Kennebec 
to Casco bay, arriving at Piscataqua on the 4th of May ; and 
on the 15th, the letters brought by them were communicated 
by the governor at Boston to his council. De Vaudreuil re- 


criminates in detail the accusations of the duplicate letters 
sent by Sheldon, "not having received them by Albany." 
Reiterating obstacles, and stating his terms for the return 
of the captives, he adds : "Mr. Livingston is a very worthy 
man, with whom I could soon agree upon an exchange, were 
not his powers limited. If you were sole in command in New 
England, as I am here, I should not have hesitated to take 
your word, and it would really have given me great pleasure 
to return to 5^ou by him all your prisoners. But as you have 
a Council, whose opinions are often divided, and in which 
you have but one vote, you must not take it ill that I demand 
a guaranty for the return of the prisoners on 3'our side, more 
especially because I, on my side, having absolute authorit}', 
am always able to keep my pledged word."' 

The persistent importunities of Mr. Sheldon and Mr. Wil- 
liams, aided by the friendly offices of Captain de Beauville, 
an officer of high rank, brought about the ransom of the 
minister's daughter Esther, one of Sheldon's children, his 
son's wife and two others unknown. The governor also pur- 
chased Stephen Williams from his Indian master, and Liv- 
ingston told him at Sorel he was to go home with him, 
"which," says the boy, "revived me very much to think of 
going home, but the governor quickly altered his mind said 
I must not go." 

In the first days of May, the envoys, with their five re- 
deemed captives, set out on their journey home. The Sieur 
de Courtemanche, a distinguished officer, with eight French 
soldiers, accompanied them as escort, carrying duplicates of 
the governor's letters already forwarded by Hills. Shortly 
after the departure, four young men, Thomas Baker, John 
Nims, Martin Kellogg and Joseph Petty, disappointed at not 

'Letter of De Vaudreuil to Dudley, Quebec March 26, 1705, in answer to 
those of Dudley, sent by Sheldon and Livingston. B. B. Poore Coll. Vol. 5, 
p. 221, in Mass. Archives. 


having liberty to go home with Mr. Sheldon, escaped from 
Montreal, and after terrible suffering reached Deerfield in 
June, in an almost dying state. 

Livingston and the French escort were probably left at 
Albany ; Hannah Chapin Sheldon, safely returned to her fa- 
ther's house in Springfield ; and Ensign Sheldon with the 
Sieur de Courtemanche, hurried on to Boston, where they 
must have arrived before June 5th, as a committee was ap- 
pointed on that date to audit their accounts, "and to do it 
with all speed." 

Hannah wrote from Springfield to her husband, on the 
1 6th, that '"she should be very glad to see him," and shortly 
after, she and the others were re-united to their friends in 
Deerfield. By his artful selection of a few captives for re- 
lease, De Vaudreuil had quieted Mr. Williams, and rid him- 
self of John Sheldon for a time. It is not probable that he 
expected Dudley to accept the terms offered by his messen- 
ger. The sending of Courtemanche with these instructions 
was done with the wily intent to gain time to rivet his pris- 
oners' chains more strongly, and, as he himself avows in his 
report of the matter to the king, "to make himself acquaint- 
ed with the country." 

These instructions were : ^ to be inflexible in his demands 
for Baptiste, "without whom there could be no exchange;" 
to demand the return of all the French prisoners in New 
England to Port Royal, giving his parole, that immediately 
upon information of their arrival there, all the English held 
by the French, (there is no mention of those in savage hands,) 
should be released and furnished with provisions and trans- 
portation for their return; to demand guarantees for the re- 
turn of those Acadians who had been allowed to go else- 
where; to demand justice for an alleged murder of six 

'B. P. Poore Coll. Vol. 5, p. 229, in Mass. Archives. 


Frenchmen; and, finally, to demand the release of one Al- 
lain, who, it was pretended, had been sent by the governor 
of Port Royal to negotiate an exchange, but who was held 
as a spy, his passport not being forthcoming. 

On the 14th of June, 1705, "His Excellency acquainted the 
council with the advances he had made in his proposals to 

Mr. Courtemanche, relating to the exchange and that 

the whole affair stuck at Baptiste, which Mr. Courtemanche 
insisted on as a particular article in his instructions, and de- 
clined to do anything unless Baptiste was included." The 
governor asks advice of his council, and desires "that cer- 
tain of them with the Representatives take the matter into 
consideration, without speaking of the same without doors." 
The following day, the representatives sent a message to 
the governor "That he should use his utmost endeavors to 
obtain the exchange without releasing of Baptiste. But if 
finally it cannot be obtained without, that Baptiste be ex- 
changed Rather than our Captives be retained in the hands 
of the Enemy."' 

Notwithstanding the injunction of secrecy, it was noised 
abroad that the governor intended to give up Baptiste. 
Whereupon a strong remonstrance against his release, was 
sent by the leading "merchants and sailors" of Boston.- "If 
there were nothing else but the urgency of the French de- 
manding him, it is a sufficient reason why we should pre- 
serve him to ourselves," they say. After much fruitless dis- 
cussion, Dudley in his turn drew up proposals for the ex- 
change. Courtemanche falling sick, or perhaps indisposed 
to return on foot. Captain Vetch, with an eye to trade at Que- 
bec, offered to go with his vessel and convey him home. 
Courtemanche, who seems to have made himself agreeable 

'June 15, 1705, Council Records, Vol. 71, p. 145. 
"Council Records, Vol. 71, p. 152. 


in Boston/ urged the governor to let his son, William Dud- 
ley, a young man of eighteen, bear him company to Quebec 
and return on the same vessel. Glad of an opportunity to 
acquire information and hoping thereby to obtain the release 
of some, the governor consented. "Bread, Beer, Flesh and 
Pease for a twenty days'" voyage are ordered aboard Cap. 
tain Vetch's vessel, with "a Hoggshead of good wine as a 
present to the Governor of Quebec." The two Dubois are 
sent home by land ; Courtemanche orders vSamuel Hills to 
accompany him by sea. Dudley's dispatches^ are dated Bos- 
ton the 4-1 5 July, 1705, and probably the vessel sails the next 

Concerning the exchange, Dudley makes all proper con- 
cessions. It may take place at Mount Desert, whither he 
will send all the French prisoners on any day when De Vau- 
dreuil will send the English there. He will buy none from 
the Indians, but if they are not at once rescued from them, 
he will retaliate and "your people will be reduced to accom- 
modate themselves to a savage life as well as mine." He re- 
sents the insinuation that his authority is limited ; he will 
send Allain home, and with him, in exchange for the two 
girls Mr. Livingston brought back, two strong men of Port 
Royal, captives here. "As to Baptiste I think Monsieur de 
Courtemanche has learned so many things about his dastard- 
ly conduct that you will agree with me that he is a rascal who 
does not deserve that you should want him back, and per- 
haps you will think he is not worth my keeping, wherefore 

'Sevvall's Diary, Vol. 2, pp. 133-4 has the following: "July 4, Comencement 

Day, I go by Water Capt. Courtmaruh was there, and din'd in the 

Hall." A footnote by the Editor says "This name is utterly strange and mys- 
terious. We have no clew to the person intended." Evidently this was the 
Sieurde Courtemanche, whose illness may have been the result of his Com- 
mencement festivities, c A. B. 

'^B. P. Poore Coll. in Mass. Archives. 


I have resolved to send him with the others to the place of 
rendezvous, if the articles are accepted, and there will be an 
end of that business."' 

Not doubting that his terms will be accepted, he desires 
that his son may see the captives and help them to a speedy 
return, for fear that winter may overtake them. In case Mr. 
Williams should not wish to come with the others, if the 
governor will let him return with Captain Vetch, Dudley 
will provide an equally distinguished escort for any French 
gentlemen who may be prisoners in Boston. 

The arrival of an English vessel in the St. Lawrence made 
a great stir. De Vaudreuil at first ordered her anchored 
fifteen leagues down the river, but finally had her brought 
up to Quebec, her sails removed and a guard put on board. 

The details of young Dudley's sojourn in Quebec and the 
correspondence between Canada and the court of France on 
that subject are of exciting interest, but having no imme- 
diate connection with the Deerfield prisoners, must be omitted 
here. De Vaudreuil treated the Boston gentlemen politely 
and allowed them entire liberty in Quebec, but the wary in- 
tendant makes a merit of watching them closely during their 
stay in Montreal. 

Mr. Williams came up from Chateau-Richer to see them, 
and was supplied by Captain Vetch with money, but continu- 
ing to argue in season and out of season against Popery, he 
was sent back again. His son Stephen, Jonathan Hoit and 
a few others were allowed to go home with Mr. Dudley, 
whose negotiations towards the exchange were entirely un- 
successful. After a tedious voyage they reached Boston, 
where they had been long expected, on the 21st of Novem- 
ber, 1705. 

William Dudley was the bearer of new proposals to his 
father from the Canadian government, which not only in- 

'Dudley's weariness of this subject is here very apparent. 


eluded a full exehange, but were virtually a treaty of peace 
between the French and English in America, with the stip- 
ulation however, that "if not signed by the governors of Bos- 
ton, New York and all other special English governors be- 
fore the end of February, the articles should be null and 
void." The articles were rejected by the assembly and 
council at Boston, as not "consistent with her majesty's hon- 
or," and with thanks to Dudley for his past endeavors, it 
was left to him, upon advice with Lord Cornbury, to answer 
De Vaudreuil. To avoid their subsistence during the win- 
ter, and to set an example of generosity, Dudley early in 
December, sent home fifty-seven Port Royal captives, re- 
taining Baptiste and others of importance. 

On the 17th of January, 1706, the governor read to his 
council his answer to De Vaudreuil's proposals, "to be des- 
patched to Quebec by Mr. John Sheldon, attended with a 
servant or two, and accompanied by two French prisoners 
of war." 

Mr. Sheldon now appears upon the stage as a full fledged 
ambassador. His attendants were John Wells and Joseph 
Bradley, a Haverhill man, whose wife was languishing in 
her second captivity. They left Deerfield on the 25th of 
January, taking the same route as before, another dreary 
winter journey. They arrived at Quebec in the beginning 
of March. Mr. Williams went up again for a few days to 
see Mr. Sheldon, and doubtless told him with indignation, 
the vigorous efforts of the priests to gain proselytes after 
Mr. Dudley's departure. "When Mr. Sheldon came the sec- 
ond time," says Mr. Williams, "the adversaries did what 
they could to retard the time of our return, to gain time to 
seduce our young ones to Popery."^ 

Although the dispatches carried by Mr. vSheldon were not 
satisfactory to De Vaudreuil, he could oppose nothing to Mr. 

^"The Redeemed Captive," Sixth Ed., p. 113. 


Sheldon's arguments, that he was in honor bound to release 
some captives in return for those already sent home by 
Dudley, and he at last reluctantly consented to release for- 

Captain Thomas More in his boat, the Marie, was to take 
them as far as Port Royal, with orders to the governor of 
Acadia to retain them there until "all the French prisoners 
without distinction" should be returned to Port Royal. 
Meantime the Marie was to proceed to Boston with Mr. Shel- 
don and his attendants, the two Frenchmen also returning- 
with De Vaudreuil's ultimatum. 

The Marie must have sailed soon after June 2d, the date 
of the governor's letter.^ She evidently stopped at Port 
Royal, for we have John Sheldon's account there of his 
"pocket expenses : the Doctor for John Wells," and "for two 
blankets and other things for y*" captives." 

Whether Monsieur de Brouillant assumed the responsibil- 
ity of forwarding the captives with Mr. Sheldon, or how it 
was, we know not, but there is evidence enough that the}' 
arrived with him in the Marie at Boston on the first day of 
August. Mr. Williams, writing after his own redemption 
and before Mr. Sheldon's third expedition, says, "The last 
who came, in numbers between forty and fifty, with Mr. 
Sheldon (a good man and a true servant of the church in 
Deerfield, who twice took his tedious and dangerous journey 
in the winter from New England unto Canada on these oc- 
casions), came aboard at Quebec, May 30th, and after nine 
weeks' difficult passage, arrived at Boston, August ist, 1706." 
On the 2d, Dudley informed his council of the letters "re- 
ceived yesterday, from the Governor of Canada by a Flagg 
of Truce with forty odd English prisoners." Who were the 

'Letter from De Vaudreiiil to Dudley dated Quebec, June 2, 1706. B. P 
Poore Coll. Vol. 5, p. 295. 

'The New Style had already been adopted in Canada. 


forty odd we know not. Sheldon's daug^hter Mary was one; 
James Adams, another. Mr. Williams was still in Chateau- 
Richer, and the intendant threatened "if More brought word 
that Battis was in prison, he would put him in prison and 
lay him in irons." 

De Vaudreuil's letter also threatened reprisals if the Marie 
did not carry back tidings of Baptiste's release. One clause 
of this letter shows John Sheldon as an honest government 
official: "I have done myself the pleasure to honor the letter 
of credit you have given to Mr. Sheldon upon me. He has 
used it very modestly, and has demanded of me only 750 
Livres." Mr. Sheldon's account shows how the money was 
expended. His landlords at Quebec and Montreal got a 
good part of it. The destitute captives were clothed; other 
interesting items are: "For acarrialP to goe to see the cap- 
tives at the Mohawk fort." "For a canoe and men to go 
from Quebec to visit Mr. Williams." "More paid to y*" Bar- 
bour for me and my men and for my Blooting." "Laid out 
for my deaughter Mary for necessary cloathing." "More for 
my darter." 

Mr. Sheldon's account being allowed. Wells and Bradley 
petitioned to be reimbursed for sundry expenditures, "snow- 
shoes and pumps," "a dog 15 shillings," and "besides there 
was a gun hired for the voyage, which said gun was broken 
in the discharging." Thirty-five pounds were voted to Mr. 
Sheldon, and twenty pounds each to the others for their ser- 
vices, over and above their outfit. While Mr. Sheldon was 
settling his affairs in Boston, young John Sheldon wrote him 
as follows : — 

"Honored Father Sheldon : — After duty presented, these are 
to let you noe that I reseived your letter, which we desire to bless 
you for it. pray give my love with my wife's to sister Mary and 

^Carriole. A Canadian sleigh. 


all the rest of the captives I pray you to buy for me a 

paire of curtings and a feather bead, and a greaine coverlid and a 
necklace of amber." 

No doubt these commissions were faithfully executed, and 
the "Old Indian House" was soon g-laddened by the return 
of its master, and another of the long-sundered household. 

A week after the arrival of the Marie at Boston, the coun- 
cil advised Dudley to reject the proposals brought by her, 
and "yet send away the French prisoners without exception 
to Port Royal and Quebec and demand ours in return, and 
to send a vessel forthwith to Quebec in hopes of seeing them 
before winter." 

Captain Bonner and his vessel were hired ; Mr. Samuel 
Appleton of the council was appointed as bearer of dispatch- 
es ; and towards the last of the month the brigantine Hope, 
auspicious name in such a service, convoyed the Marie with 
Baptiste, and all but one of the French prisoners out of Bos- 
ton harbor. Narrowly escaping shipwreck, they reached 
Quebec about the first of October. Mr. Appleton appears to 
have made himself pretty comfortable while the negotiations 
were pending, if we may judge from his tavern bill, on which 
I find beef and mutton a plenty, with ducks, broiled chickens 
and according to the fashion of that day, many bottles of 
eau de vie} There being no longer any excuse for retaining 
Mr. Williams, he and fifty-six others, among whom were his 
two sons and probably Sheldon's, came home with Mr. Ap- 

Mr. Williams says they left Quebec the 25th of October, 
but I find by the inn-keeper's bill that Samuel joined his fa- 
ther and Warham there on the 28th; that one of the boys 
was charged for breaking a glass on the 29th, and the board 
of the three is charged up to the 31st, so that unless their 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 71, p. 248. 


landlord was unusually rapacious we must take this as the 
day of their departure. After a stormy passage, they reached 
Boston on Nov. 21st, and were immediately sent for by 
the general court, then in session, where their pitiful appear- 
ance excited such commiseration that it was at once "Re- 
solved that the sum of twenty shillings be allowed and paid 
out of the Publick Treasury to each of the captives this day 
returned from Canada." On Appleton's account, presented 
after his return, is the following item which must have made 
him doubly welcome to good Mr. Williams: "5 English 
Bibles, which Capt. Appleton carryed with him by order 
of y® governor and council and given to the captives, 2 £ 
13 s. 6 d." 

On his return to Deerfield after his second expedition, 
John Sheldon entered again upon the town business. With- 
in ten days after Mr. Williams landed in Boston, he was 
''chosen a committee to go down to the Bay to treat with Mr. 
Williams about returning to settle in Deerfield." I know 
not whether to admire more, the energy and courage of the 
people, or the fidelity and self-sacrifice of the pastor, in their 
action in this matter. 

Early in 1707, by a vote of the town to build a house for 
the minister "as big as Ensign Sheldon's with a lean-to as 
big as may be thought convenient," he was chosen on the 
building committee. But his country again needed his ser- 
vices, and he was not permitted to remain long with his re- 
united family. On the 14th of January, Gov. Dudley in- 
formed his council that there were about ninety English still 
held by the French and Indians of Canada, whom the gov- 
ernor had promised to return the coming spring, and pro- 
posed to have "a Person Leger at Quebec, to put forward 
that affair, and endeavor that all be sent, and that Mr. John 
Sheldon who has been twice already, may be employed with 
a suitable retinue to undertake a journey thither, on that 


service, if the season will permit." As we have already seen, 
John Sheldon was not one to permit the season to stand in 
the way of his serving the state. Accordingly, he left Deer- 
field on the i/th of April, attended by Edward Allen, Na- 
thaniel Brooks,' and Edmund Rice. We have a hint of how 
it fared with him on his northward march, in this item from 
his account book : "Paid six livres to an Indian to guide us 
into the way when bewildered." Mr. Sheldon was in great 
danger during this last journey to Canada, and his sojourn 
there. The French were exasperated by rumors of another 
invasion from New England, and the woods were full of 
small parties of Indians, on the war-path to the border set- 

He arrived the i ith of May. His reception there was not 
the most courteous, as we learn by this letter from the court 
of Versailles to the governor of Canada: "His Majesty ap- 
proves of your having spoken as you did to the man named 
Scheldin, whom that Governor (Dudley) sent you by land, in 
search of the English prisoners at Quebec, and even if you 
had had him put in prison with all his suite, it would have 
been no great matter."^ From Montreal, Mr. vSheldon wrote 
on the 20th of June, that the French were collecting forces 
there, being alarmed by the report of an approaching Eng- 
lish fleet. He was not permitted to return until this excite- 
ment had subsided. In mid-summer, escorted by six soldiers 
under Monsieur de Chambly,^ who had secret orders to ac- 
quaint himself with the condition of things at Orange, he 
with seven more captives, came down Lake Champlain in 
canoes, arriving at Albany on the 24th of August. To Mr. 

'He went to seek his daughter, captured Feb. 29, 1703-4. 

-Letter from the French Minister to De Vaudreuil, June 6, 1708. Doc. pub. 
^ yuebec, Vol. II, p. 488. 

^Brother of Hertel De Rouville. 


Sheldon's annoyance, his escort were held as prisoners dur- 
ing their stay in Albany, by Col. vSchuyler, who knew from 
friendly Indians in Canada the hostile attitude of affairs 
there, and he was sent with them down to Lord Cornbury at 
New York. Thence by Saybrook, New London and Ston- 
ington, now on horseback and now on foot, the captiv^es came 
slowly home, and on the i8th of vSeptember, John Sheldon 
was in Boston and delivered his despatches to the governor 
in council, and gave a narrative of his negotiations. 

In October, Mr. Sheldon is again in Deerfield, where he is 
appointed to manage for the town as a petitioner to the Gen- 
eral Court for help towards Mr. Williams's salary. His name 
appears once more on the General Court records in Novem- 
ber, 1707, on two petitions for aid in consideration of his own 
losses, and for his services and those of his attendants in his 
last journey, "in which they endured much fatigue and hard- 
ship and passed through great danger, sustaining also con- 
siderable damage by their absence from their Businesse." 
In answer, he was given fifty pounds for his services, thir- 
teen of which was to be paid him by a mulatto whom he 
had brought out of bondage, and a grant of three hundred 
acres, not to exceed forty acres of meadow land, was made 

Shortly after this he removed to Hartford, where, in 1708, 
he had married a second time. In 1726, "being weak in 
body, yet through God's goodness to me, of sound mind 
and memory," he made his will, and died in 1734, at the age 
of seventy-six. 

We need not search the rolls of heraldry for the pedigree 
of old John Sheldon, We have found him a brave man, and 
a good citizen, a tender husband and a loving father, true 
and faithful in all his private relations and public positions, 
a pillar of the church and state. What more need we ask ? 

The great Archbishop vSheldon used to say to the young 


lords who sought his advice : "Be honest and moral men. 
Do well and rejoice." John Sheldon was both. He did well, 
and his descendants may rejoice. 


There have been more noteworthy journeys to Canada 
than that whose fruits are gathered here. 

There is that one abounding in thrilling experiences, from 
which Benjamin Waite and Stephen Jennings returned tri- 
umphant to Hatfield. 

Many others, endured perforce by our captive ancestors 
with a fortitude never to be forgotten ; and equally memor- 
able those undertaken for their redemption. 

Rev. John Williams thus writes of the most notable of 
these : "Mr. Sheldon, a good man and a true servant of the 
church in Deerfield, twice took his tedious and dangerous 
journey in the winter, from New England into Canada on 
these occasions."^ Though, with the Redeemed Captive, I 
have "blessed God that deliverance was brought for so many," 
the number left behind could not be forgotten. As often 
as I have read in our annals the pathetic story, "taken cap- 
tive to Canada, whence they came not back," I have longed 
to know their fate. The longing has become a purpose, and 
I have taken upon myself a mission to open the door for the 
return of the long-lost captives. I doubt if Deacon Sheldon 
himself was thought so demented, when he announced his 

'Mr. Sheldon went three times to Canada for the captives. 


intention of going- to Canada in mid-winter to demand the 
release of his kinsfolk and neighbors, as I was, when I made 
known my purpose, to go to Montreal in December. 

So with that apparent vacillation which often cloaks our 
firmest resolutions, I bought my tickets with the privilege 
of returning them, in case of a heavy snow storm on the day 
of departure. The day and the storm arrived together, but 
I had set my hand to the plough, and even if it should prove 
a snow plough, there was no turning back. Two hundred 
years have robbed the winter journey from New England to 
New France of all its tedium and danger, and one needs all 
the reflected glory of his heroic ancestry, to reconcile him 
to the ignoble ease with which it is performed. 

After two days of fruitless search for the trail of our cap- 
tives, I had begun to despair, when chance led me to the 
rooms of the Natural History Society. There, by a rare good 
fortune, I found a remarkable collection of the Old Regime, 
— priceless treasures, hitherto guarded jealously in the home, 
the convent or the church, now, for the first time, and prob- 
ably the last, by the energy of the Numismatic and Anti- 
quarian Society of Montreal, brought together for a week's 
exhibition. This alone would have repaid me for my jour- 
ney. There were portraits of Wolfe and Montcalm, and sil- 
ver mugs once owned by the latter. There were Champlain's 
autograph, and the patent of nobility conferred upon Frangois 
Hertel and his posterity. Here I stood, face to face, with 
the illustrious founders of New France— soldiers, nuns, mis- 
sion priests, Intendants, Governor-Generals, heroic martyrs, 
gallant captains and faithful viceroys of Louis XIV. The 
frank, sensible, practical, womanly and warm-hearted Mar- 
guerite Bourgeois; Madame de la Peltrie, the ardent and sin- 
cere, albeit romantic and sensational enthusiast ; Pere Jogues, 
the refined, scholarly and pious missionary, with his poor, 
mutilated hands, and his deeply-lined face; timid, humble, 


self-distrusting, meek and patient as a lamb under Indian tor- 
ture, bold as a lion in defence of his faith. Laval, the high- 
born prelate, stubborn fighter for the supremacy of the 
church ; Talon, the intendant, sagacious, alert, whose deli- 
cate face gives no hint of his energetic character ; Charle- 
voix, cotemporary and historian of them all. Here were 
Boucher and d'Ailleboust, representatives of the old iiob/essc, 
and de Montigny, greatest of Canadian warriors; the same 
to whom Esther Jones and Margaret Huggins and poor little 
Elisha Searle, may have appealed for mercy for their kins- 
folk slain at Pascommuck. And here were the Hertel broth- 
ers, faces all too familiar to our Deerfield captives, handsome 
and noble faces, nevertheless. These were the features first 
revealed to our woe-begone ancestry, in the light of their 
burning homes, nearly two hundred years ago. This deco- 
ration may have been De Rouville's reward for his success- 
ful attack on Deerfield. Those very eyes must have beamed 
gratefully upon Mary Baldwin Catlin, as she tenderly raised 
the head and moistened the fevered lips of the wounded 
French youth. This thought was an inspiration. An hour 
later I found myself on a bench in the church vestry, with a 
crowd of old women, anxious for confession, awaiting my 
turn to speak with the Cure of Notre Dame. At four o'clock 
when the early sunset of that northern latitude overtook me, 
one might have seen me perched upon a high stool, at a 
grated window, straining my eyes over the ancient record, 
and translating letter by letter from the old French, the fol- 
lowing, in the hand-writing of Father Meriel : 

"On Monday, the 21st day of December, in the year 1705, the 
rites of baptism were by me, the undersigned priest, administered 
in the chapel of the Sisters of the Congregation, with the permission 
of Monsieur Frangois le Vachon de Belmont, Grand Vicar of my 
Lord, the Bishop of Quebec, to Samuel Williams, upon his abjura- 
tion of the Independent religion ; who, born at Dearfielde in New 


England, the 24th of Jan. O. S. [3d of Feb.] of the year 1690, of the 
marriage of Mr. John Williams, minister of the said place, and his 
wife Eunice Mather, having been taken the 29th of Feb. O. S. [nth 
of March] of the year 1704, and brought to Canada, lives with Mr. 
Jacques Le Ber, Esquire, Sieur de Senneville. His godfather was 
Jacques Le Ber. His godmother Marguerite Bouat, wife of Antoine 
Pascaud, merchant, who have signed with me." 

Then follow the signatures of Senneville, Marguerite Bouat 
Pascaud and the unformed and tremulous autograph of Sam- 
uel himself. Dear lad ! On this very spot he was .sent to 
school, to learn to read and write French. The schoolmas- 
ter sometimes "flattered him with promises, if he would cross 
himself, then threatened him if he would not;" and finding 
promises and threats ineffectual, he "struck him with a cruel 
whip, and made him get down on his knees for an hour." 
For weeks, this went on, till at last, after many tears, "through 
cowardice and fear of the whip," says his stern, old Puritan 
father, "he was first brought to cross himself." From this 
to abjuration and baptism, was a natural step. Two days 
after his baptism, he wrote to his father in Quebec a strange 
letter, filled with accounts of the conversion of his fellow- 
captives to the Roman Catholic religion, and not one word 
of himself. "When I had this letter," says the heart-broken 
father, "I presently knew it to be of Mr. Meriel's composing, 
but the messenger who brought it, brought word that my 
son had embraced their religion. The news was ready to 
overwhelm me with grief and sorrow — anguish took hold 
upon me. I asked God to direct me what to do, and how to 
write, and to find an opportunity of conveying a letter to 
him." That letter, and Samuel's answer, may be read in 
"The Redeemed Captive." 

Far into the twilight I sat there, spellbound by the old 
manuscript. How many tales it unfolded. True stories of 
real folks, far transcending in interest, any wonder book of 


fiction. I pictured the fourteen years old boy in the house 
of his so-called master. It was, doubtless, one of the best 
in the town, for Jacques Le Ber, shopkeeper at Montreal, 
had by industry and thrift made himself a fortune, and am- 
bitious for his children had "got himself made a gentleman 

for 6000 livres, so far had )ioblcssc already fallen from its 

old estate."^ 

Though Jacques Le Ber was the possessor of riches and a 
title, — though it pleased him to be called Ecuyer or Esquire, 
and to sign himself Seigneur de Senneville, he had had sore 
disappointment. His wife had died. His eldest daughter, 
his favorite child, instead of helping him, in the care of the 
younger children, had shut herself up at twenty-two, in her 
chamber, where for ten years she sat embroidering altar 
cloths and vestments, refusing to see any one but her con- 
fessor, and the girl who brought her food. An odor of sanc- 
tity must have pervaded the house of Jacques Le Ber, and 
Samuel probably heard from her own sisters the story of 
Jeanne Le Ber. Ten years before he became an inmate of 
the family, she had retired to a cell which had been built for 
her behind the altar, in the new chapel of the nuns of the 
Congregation ; and the boy and his master must both have 
thought of the family saint, so near and yet so far, as they 
stood by the altar when Samuel was baptized. It was kind 
in Jacques Le Ber to burden his household with the boy, and 
Samuel felt it ; for he tells his father, in excuse for his con- 
version, that they told him (perhaps Le Ber's own children), 
that he had never been bought from the Indians, but was 
only sojourning in Montreal, and that if he would not turn, 
he should be given back to the savages, but that if he would 
he should never be put into their hands any more.^ 

I wondered as I sat there putting the two ends of the story 

'Parkman. Old Regime, p. 256. 

^"The Redeemed Captive," p. 77. Edition of MDCCC, 

Iq8 true stories of new ENGLAND CAPTIVES. 

together, whether it was all so dreadful to the boy as it seems 
to us. Whether, as he waded from Jaeques Le Ber's house 
to school, through that Canadian winter, he was ever gay 
and merry like other boys, and snowballed and frolicked on 
his snow-shoes. Or whether the thought of his mother slain, 
his father far away, his brothers and sisters scattered he 
knew not where, haunted him day and night. The priests 
spent whole days urging him to renounce his father's re- 
ligion. To rescue from heresy the child of the Puritan 
preacher, was an object worth their labor, and they spared 
no pains nor argument to that end. When at last the ship 
came to take him home, they tried to frighten him with tales 
of shipwreck, and threats of eternal damnation. They told 
him if he would stay, the king would grant him a pension, 
and that his master, an old man and the richest in Canada, 
would give him a great deal of money; but that in New 
England he would be poor and homeless. It is a relief to 
remember that neither promise of preferment, nor the fear 
of poverty on earth and of hell hereafter, could keep him 
from home and native land. 

When I walked back to my hotel, the stars were shining. 
The Montreal of to-day had vanished, and men, women and 
children from the Deerfield of 1 704, thronged the snowbound 
streets of the old French town. Ville-Marie de Mont-Real — 
what legend of the age of chivalry equals the romance of 
thy true history ! The most brilliant conception of the 
imagination pales before the simple recital of the exploits of 
thy crusaders. 

To all readers of "The Redeemed Captive" the name of 
Father Meriel is as familiar as that of Parson Williams him- 
self. For the next two days I followed his steps in the old 
records as he went in and out among the captives. On the 
triumphant return of De Rouville from Deerfield, the Seign- 
eur de Montigny, whom I have already mentioned as the 


greatest warrior of New France, was sent to the Connecticut 
valley with a party of French and Indians. Montigny at- 
tacked Pascommuck, a little hamlet of Northampton, occu- 
pied by five families, and known also as Northampton Farms. 

The Hampshire record is as follows : 

"May 12 [13] Pascomok Fort taken by ye French and Indians 
being about 72. They took, and Captivated ye whole Garrison be- 
ing about 37 Persons. The English Pursueingof them caused them 
to nock all the captives on the head, Save 5 or 6. Three they car- 
ried to Canada with them ; the others escap'd and about 7 of those 
knocked on the Head Recovered, ye Rest died." 

Those carried to Canada were Esther Inghesson, [Ingersol] 
wife of Benoni Jones ; Margaret Huggins, her niece, aged 
eighteen, and Elisha Searle, a little boy of eight. 

Imagine the emotions with which I read the Canadian ac- 
count of the Pascommuck story. It is so strange to find the 
homely names of ''iin petit Anglois^' or ''unc petite Angloise,'' 
and their fathers and mothers, old-time friends and neigh- 
bors of our own ancestry, done into French in Father Meriel's 
beautiful hand-writing as bright and clear to-day as if fresh 
from his pen. Stranger still it is to see them coupled with 
names of warriors and courtiers, who not only figure brill- 
iantly in the annals of New France, but who once shared at 
Fontainebleau, the pleasures of the corrupt and splendid 
court of Louis XIV., who may have seen the rise and fall of 
the LaValliere and the Montespan, — and have lounged in the 
ante-chambers of Madame de Maintenon. 

The old record reads like a novel, it is all so vivid. In- 
stinctively I hold out my arms and whisper, "Don't be afraid," 
to the little Elisha Searle as I see him there, in his blue 
checked apron and shabby homespun, just as he was snatched 
from his mother's side. He stands there ready to burst into 
tears, clinging tight to the hand of Jean Baptiste Celeron de 
Blainville, v^ith whom he lives. How he shrinks from the 


priest and the baptismal water, and turns half trustful!}^ to- 
wards Dame Marie Anne LeMoyne de Chassaigne, his god- 
mother. It is all over now, and this is our last sight of little 
Elisha, or Elisee, as the French have it. His god-father, the 
Sieur de Blainville, has taken away the name given him b}- 
good Parson Stoddard, and when we meet him again, if we 
ever do meet him, it will be as Michel Searls. A year later, 
Margaret Huggins is baptized. Father Meriel tells us that 
she was the daughter of John Huggins and Experience Jones, 
born at Stony Brook in 1686, and baptized at Springfield four 
months later ; that she was taken by the Abenaquis at Pas- 
commuck, near Northampton, and carried by the Indians to 
St. Francis. From them she was bought by that illustrious 
exile, the Marquis de Crisafy, governor of Three Rivers, 
with whom she lived until August, 1 706, when she was brought 
to Montreal. Her sponsors were Monsieur Etienne Robert 
and Marguerite Bouat, who seem to have been as zealous in 
the conversion of heretics as Father Meriel. I doubt not 
that her name re-appears later, where lack of time forbade 
me to look for her. 

My next find was the story of Esther Jones, as Father Mer- 
iel wrote it out for vSamuel Williams to copy and send it to 
his father. Between the lines it is easy to read the prolonged 
agony of that first year of captivity, ending for this poor 
woman in weeks of sickness in the hospital. There, "dis- 
tempered with a very high fever, if not distracted," as Mr. 
Williams says, on their death beds, scarcely conscious of 
their acts, and "at first disdaining," she and Abigail Turbot 
yielded to the threats of the priests and the importunities of 
the nuns who took care of them, and, confessing the sins of 
their whole lives, abjured Protestantism, received extreme 
unction, died and were "honorably buried side by side, in 
the church-yard next the church," "close to the body of the 
Justice Pese's wife," writes Samuel, "all the people being 


present." What a picture these few lines recall. The beau- 
ty of that spring night on Northampton meadows ; the still- 
ness broken by the horrid war-whoop ; the terror of those 
five families; the flaming farm-houses; the flight with the 
prisoners ; the brave pursuit and the merciless slaughter ; 
the three desolate ones, marching on to unending captivity ; 
the meeting with some of their Deerfield friends in the In- 
dian camp at Coos ; the arrival in Canada ; their separation ; 
the year of illness ending with the hospital, where Esther 
Jones finds her cousin, Abigail Turbot, who had been taken 
at Cape Porpoise, Me.;^ finally, that gloomy Sunday after- 
noon in December, when both sufferers lay spent with the 
struggle, life ebbing fast from their fever-racked frames ; 
grey-robed nuns flitting softly back and forth between them; 
black-gowned priests reiterating in low tones alternate threat 
and promise, their efforts at last successful ; Father Meriel 
pressing forward with extreme unction for the penitents ; 
Samuel Williams and other English prisoners looking on, 
awestruck at the scene ; Madam Grizalem, as they call ChrivS- 
tine Otis's mother, whose captivity has had a happier end- 
ing there too, let us hope as a kind mediator between the 
sufferers and their persecutors ; the burial, at which "all the 
people were present ;" the captives standing sadly about the 
open graves and wondering whose turn would come next ; 
then, earth to earth, rcquicscant in pace ; and Father Meriel 
hurries to the church vestry to write dowm before it is quite 
dark the record, which two hundred years later, shall be thus 
read by a descendant of Deerfield. So the curtain falls on 
the tragedy of Pascommuck. 

In the attack on Deerfield, Sarah Jeffreys, widow of Thom- 
as Hurst, and her six children were captured. The young- 
est, Benjamin or Benoni, was slain in the meadows. Sarah, 
eighteen, Elizabeth, sixteen, Thomas, twelve, Hannah, eight, 



Ebenezer, five, were carried with the mother to Canada, 
where they were probably separated. Widow Sara, the 
mother, was re-baptized, and appears on the Canadian records 
as Marie Jeanne.' Ebenezer was baptized by Father Meriel 
on Sunday, Dec. 6, 1705, and the name of Antoine Nicolas 
was given him by his god-father, Monsieur Antoine Adhe- 
mar, registrar of the jurisdiction of Ville-Marie. His broth- 
er Thomas was carried to the Mission of Notre Dame de Lo- 
rette and baptized by Father Meriel at Montreal, on the 17th 
of January, 1 706. We have heretofore believed that the Wid- 
ow Hurst, with her two eldest daughters, was redeemed and 
returned to New England, Ebenezer, Thomas, and Hannah 
remaining in Canada. I am led to ' doubt this statement in 
regard to Elizabeth by the following extract from the Mont- 
real register : 

"On Monday, the 3d of October, 17 12, after the publication of 
the three banns, I, the undersigned, Seminary priest of Montreal, 
with the permission of Monsieur Francois de Vauchon, Orand Vicar 
of the Bishop of Quebec, and with the mutual consent of Thomas 
Becraft, weaver, aged thirty-three, son of Thomas Becraft, deceased, 
and of his wife, Elizabeth (iay, of the Bishopric of Norwich in Eng- 
land, of the first part, and of Marie Elizabeth Hurst, aged twenty- 
three, daughter of the late Thomas Hurst, and his wife, Marie Jeanne 
Jeffreys of Deerfield, in New England, of the second part, both now 
living in this parish of Ville Marie, have married them and have 
given them the nuptial benediction in presence of Mr. John Thom- 
as, master shipbuilder to the king, in this country, and of Daniel 
Joseph Maddox, friend of the groom, of William Perkins, step- 
fatherof the bride, of Thomas Hurst, her brother, and of several oth- 
ers, friends of both parties, who have signed this certificate accord- 
ing to law, with the exception of Thomas Hurst, who says that he 
cannot sign." 

Then follow Thomas's mark and the autographs of Marie 

'See Hurst family in "A Day at Oka." 


Frangoise French, William Perkins, John Thomas, Jacob 
Oilman, Daniel Joseph Maddox, Joseph Bartlet and Meriel 
Pretre. As the ag-e of the bride corresponds exactly to that 
of Elizabeth Hurst, I am led to believe that Hannah went 
back with Sara and their mother to New England, and that 
Elizabeth, with the name of Marie added at her baptism, 
was left with Ebenezer and Thomas in Canada, where she 
married as above. The Marie Frangoise French, who appears 
as one of the witnesses at the wedding of her friend Elizabeth 
Hurst, was a daughter of Deacon Thomas French and his 
wife, Mary Catlin. Deacon French was the town clerk of 
Deerfield, and also the blacksmith.^ 

The deacon and his children, — Mary, aged seventeen, Thom- 
as, fourteen, P'^reedom, eleven, Martha, eight, and Abigail, 
six — were captured. His wife and their infant John were 
killed on the retreat. Deacon French and his two eldest chil- 
dren were redeemed. Freedom was placed in the family of 
Monsieur Jacques Le Ber, merchant of Montreal, and on 
Tuesday, the 6th of April, 1706, Madame Le Ber had her 
baptized anew by Father Meriel, under the name of Marie 
Frangoise, the name of the Virgin added to that of her god- 
mother, being substituted for the Puritanic appellation of 
Freedom, by which she had been known in Deerfield. She 
signs her new name, evidently with diificulty, to this regis- 
ter, and never again does she appear as Freedom French. 
I find her often as a guest at the marriages of her English 
friends. Her sister Martha was given by her Indian captors 
to the Sisters of the Congregation at Montreal. On the 23d 
of January, 1707, she was baptized sons condition, receiving 
from her god-mother the name of Marguerite in addition to 
her own. On Tuesday, November 24, 171 1, when about six- 

'Thomas French's house stood just south of the present parsonage of the 
Second church : his shop, on the street in front of it. Not long ago, our An- 
tiquary, digging on the spot, found charcoal and bits of iron, that must have 
fallen from the blacksmith's forge. 


teen, she was married by Father Meriel to Jacques Roi, aged 
twenty-two, of the village of St. Lambert, in the presence of 
many of their relatives and friends. Jacques Roi cannot 
write his name, but the bride, Marthe Marguerite French, 
sio-ns hers in a bold, free hand, which is followed by the 
dashing autograph of the soldier, Alphonse de Tonty ; and 
Marie Frangoise French, now quite an adept in forming the 
letters of her new name, also signs. Two years later, on the 
6th of February, at the age of twenty-one, Marie Franyoise 
French married Jean Daveluy, ten years older than herself, 
a relative of Jacques Le Roi, her sister's husband. Daveluy 
could not write, but here, appended to the marriage register, 
1 find for the last time the autographs of the two sisters writ- 
ten in full, Marie Frangoise and Marthe Marguerite French. 
Elizabeth Catlin, sister of Deacon French's wife, both 
daughters of Mr. John and Mary Baldwin Catlin, married 
James Corse, who died before the destruction of Deerfield, 
leaving her with three children, two boys and a little girl 
just the age of her cousin, Martha French. On her arrival 
in Canada, Elizabeth Corse, then eight years old, was taken 
by Pierre Roy or Le Roi, an inhabitant of St. Lambert, and 
on July 14, 1705, Pierre Le Roi's wife, Catharine Ducharme, 
and Gilbert Maillet, master mason, stood as sponsors at her 
baptism. She is allowed to keep her own name intact, 
though Father Meriel writes it Elizabeth Casse. The Cana- 
dian French sometimes pronounce the vowel a ah and 
sometimes azv. The latter doubtless represents the child's 
pronunciation of her family name, the r being entirely sup- 
pressed. With Pierre Le Roi's children, Jean, Jacques 
Barbe, and the rest, Elizabeth Corse grew up to the age of 
sixteen, when, on the 6th of November, 171 2, she married 
Jean Dumontel of the same village. It is interesting to note 
that she named her first child Mary, in memory of her aunt, 
Mary Catlin French, and her second, Elizabeth, for her 


mother. Several with French names follow, among them a 
Pierre, w^hich seems to hint at a kindly regard for her bene- 
factor ; Pelagic, the last, was born in 1728. On the 6th of 
January, 1730, Elizabeth Corse married, at St. Lambert, her 
second husband, Pierre Monet. It was in this very year that 
her brother James went up from Deerfield to look for her in 
Canada. How one longs to know whether he found her a 
widow, at the head of her young family, or whether he ar- 
rived too late for the second wedding. It seems hardly pos- 
sible that his search could have been fruitless, or that the 
little colony of cousins and friends, settled in and near Mon- 
treal, could have escaped him. 

Thanks to the detail of Father Meriel in his records, a 
thread of fancy maybe interwoven with these bare statistics. 
We may imagine the grief and loneliness of these three 
cousins, when, after the horror of their seizure and the suf- 
fering of the journey were somewhat abated, they found 
themselves separated among a people so different and speak- 
ing a strange tongue. No doubt good Catharine Ducharme 
was at her wits' end to know what to do with the wailing 
little girl, who had fallen to her share in the distribution of 
prisoners ; and that Martha French gave the pious nuns of 
the Congregation no end of trouble. The solemn routine of 
the cloister must have been very irksome to the wayward 
child, who had been free to rove with her mates, at their 
own sweet will, up and down the beautiful street of Deer- 
field. We may suppose that, after Elizabeth's baptism, Dame 
Le Roi asked the Sisters to let Martha French go home with 
her to vSt. Lambert for a while ; and that this arrangement 
was found to be such a relief to all concerned that the visits 
became frequent, and that Freedom, alias Marie Frangoise 
French was of the party. It is possible that Mary Brooks, 
who was the same age, was there too. She had been bap- 
tized as Marie Claire the Sunday after Elizabeth Corse, and 


was living with the Seigneur Joseph de Fleury in Montreal. 
Gradually their homesickness wore away, and they grew to 
womanhood. We can picture these grandchildren of Mr. 
John Catlin, light haired, dark eyed — race type that we have 
known so well in later generations. No wonder that Jacques 
Roi and Jean Dumontel thought they had never seen maid- 
ens so winsome as Martha French and Elizabeth Corse, or 
that even grave, sober Jean Daveluy, with his thirty-one 
years' experience, was finally captivated by the beauty, vi- 
vacity and saucy wit of Marie Franc^-oise French, who was 
probably living with her married sister at that time. 

The condition of the people of Deerfield in the fall and 
winter of 1703-4 is pathetically described by Mr. Williams in 
a lettter to Governor Dudley, which I have quoted in anoth- 
er story. Though their elders were depressed by foreboding 
and fear, the young people of the village seem to have gone 
on as usual. Early in December young John Sheldon rode 
down to Chicopee and brought home Hannah Chapin, his 
bride, on a pillion behind him, clad, perhaps, in that famous 
pelisse, which the gossips had quilted of double thickness, 
laughingly telling her she would need it when the Indians 
should carry her off to Canada, — so perilous was the situation 
at Deerfield considered. I must confess that I have always 
looked with less favor on two other marriages contracted 
that winter, that of Elizabeth Price to Andrew Stevens, the 
Indian, and that of Abigail Stebbins to James Denio, of 
whom all that we have hitherto known is that he was one of 
three Frenchmen then living in Deerfield. That these two 
girls, born of good Puritan stock, should have done this 
thing, and especially at a time when the very name of French 
and Indian was most hateful to the people of New England, 
has always shocked my sense of the fitness of things. An- 
drew Stevens, "the Indian," was killed at the sacking of the 
town. His young wife, with James Denio and his bride, Abi- 


was living with the Seigneur Joseph de Fleury in Montreal. 

(rradually their homesickness wore away, and they grew to 

' '>d. We can picture these grandchildren of Mr. 

■■!. liqfht haired, dark e3'ed — race type that we have 

i . iter generations. No wonder that Jacques 

"hought they had never seen maid- 

FroDili and Elizabeth Corse, or 

that even giv. y. with his thirty-one 

. capLivaled bv the beauty, vi- 



^ht home Hannah Chapin, his 

! ) I I ' i V. - 

■DclisSt _ :; ;, _ _ _ : _ . 

1 need it when the Indians 
Canada, — so perilous was the situation 

- ,. _rcd. I must confess tha<^ T h:.\->- •,l,v-i>-y 

• ooked vv)th less favor on two other marr^ 
that winter, that of Elizabeth Price to Anci 
Indian, and that of Abigail Stebbins ' ;.r., ,.j 

whom all that we have hitherto known . .s one of 

tliree Frenchmen then living in Deertieid. i'hat these two 
j^irls, box-n of good Puritan stock, should have done this 
thing, and especially at a time when the very name of French 
and Indian was most hateful to the people of New England, 
iias always shocked my of the fitness of things. An- 
'••'. -A- Stevens, "the Indian." was killed at the sacking of tlv 
His young wife, with James Denio and his bride, 



filclyy^c. trjt^y- ^^ec^t/r-' 



gail Stebbins, her father and mother and the rest of their 
children were captured. John Stebbins, his wife Dorothy 
and their two sons, John and Samuel, came back. Abigail 
and her husband, her sister Thankful, and her brothers, 
Ebenezer and Joseph, remained in Canada ; so also did Eliz- 
abeth Price Stevens. The latter lived for a time with the 
Nuns of the Congregation, and having made formal abjura- 
tion of the "Calvinistic heresy," was baptized on the 25th of 
April, 1705, her godmother, Marie Elizabeth Le Moyne, 
daughter of Charles Le Moyne, Baron Longueuil, giving her 
the added name of Marie. Father Meriel savs that she was 
"born at Northampton, and was the daughter of Robert Price, 
Episcopalian, and of his wife, Sara Web, Independent, and 
widow of Andrew Stevens of Northampton." vShe signs the 
register as Marie Elizabeth Stevens, but the autograph looks 
as if her hand were held and the letters traced by another. 
On the 3d of February, 1706, at the age of twenty-two, she 
married Jean Fourneau, a master shoemaker. Among those 
present were Samuel Williams, "friend of the bride," Han- 
nah Parsons, Marie Esther Sayrs, Christine Otis and Catha- 
rine Denkyn, all English captives. She died ten days after 
the birth of her seventh child, Nov. 4, 17 16. Though we may 
object to his methods, we cannot have followed thus far the 
ministrations of Father Meriel without admiring his persist- 
ent efforts to save the souls of those whom he regards as 
heretics. According to his light he befriended the captives, 
and there can be no question of his sincerity. I felt sure 
that his unflagging zeal would sooner or later put Abigail 
Stebbins's name on the baptismal register. When I tell you 
that but for her marriage with the Frenchman I should not 
have been I and this sketch might not have been written, 
you will understand the satisfaction with which I read the 
following : 

"On Monday, the 28th of May, 1708, the rites of baptism have 


been administered by me the undersigned Priest, to an English 
woman, named in her own country Abigail Stebbens, who l)orn at 
Dearfield in New England, the 4th of January 1684 (N. S.) of the 
marriage of John Stebbens an inhabitant of that place, and of Dor- 
othy Alexander, both Independants, having been baptized by the 
minister of that place some years after and married the 14th of 
February 1704 to Jacques Desnoions now Sergeant of Mr. de Ton- 
ti's company, came with him to Canada, towards the end of the fol- 
lowing iMarch, and lives with him at Boucherville. Her name Abi- 
gail has been changed to that of Marguerite. She has had for her 
godfather the High and Mighty Seigneur Phillippede Rigaud, Mar- 
quis de Vaudreuil, Chevalier de I'Ordre Militaire de St. Louis and 
Governor-General of New France ; and for godmother. Marguerite 
Bouat, wife of Antoine Pacaud, royal treasury clerk 

who have signed with me 
according to the ordinance." 

The autographs follow : 

Mgte Bouat Pascaud 
Marguerite Stebben 

Abigail's signature shows that she was over-powered by the 
presence of the Jiaut ct puissant Governor-General. 

"Both Independants." How it stirs the dissenting blood 
in one's veins to read this of old John Stebbins and his wife 
Dorothy. How much in a little Father Meriel gives us. 
Here we have for the first time the real name and occupation 
of Abigail's husband, Jacques Desnoions, now Sergeant in 
Mr. de Tonti's company. That now banishes my life-long 
fear that the three Frenchmen in Deerfield that winter were 
scouts sent in advance by Hertel de Rouville. It is notice- 
able that Abigail vStebbins is not spoken of as the others 
have been, as "captured Feb. 29. 1704 and brought to Cana- 
da," but as having "come with her husband to Canada, and 
living with him at Boucherville." Here then was the clue. 
Boucherville was the home of Abiofail's married life. On 


its parish records I must look for the births of her children. 
With reluctance I shut the Montreal register and set about 
going to Boucherville. 

Easily accessible in summer, it was not to be thought of 
in midwinter, said the officials. Thought, however, is not 
so easily dismissed. The thing done often seems of so little 
worth, compared with the thing foregone. After groping 
awhile among the defective copies of parish records in the 
court house, the Gordian knot was cut by a suggestion from 
the lady from Philadelphia that we should get across the 
river by train and trust luck for the rest. Booming through 
the great bridge, we halted for a moment at Saint-Lambert, 
the adopted home of Elizabeth Corse and her cousins, and 
thence to Longueuil. Here the courtesy of our conductor 
was our luck. He gave us in charge to a clever French driv- 
er, in whose capacious sleigh, with only our heads visible 
above the bear skins tucked up close under our chins, we 
glided on to Boucherville. 

The road from Longueuil to Boucherville is a forcible re- 
minder of that modified feudalism which formed the basis 
of Canadian colonization. Longueuil and Boucherville are 
among the oldest seigniories gi'anted by the king with pat- 
ents of nobility to the more prominent colonists of Canada. 
Charles Le Moyne, Baron of Longueuil, the son of an inn- 
keeper at Dieppe, was a man of rare worth. The family 
founded by him is still eminent in Canada. Boucherville 
was the seigniory of Pierre Boucher, whose descendants, 
the De Bouchervilles, a family of distinction, still live on the 
spot. "The fief of the seignior," says Mr. Parkman, "varied 
from half a league to six leagues fronting on the river, and 
from half a league to two leagues in depth. The condition 
imposed on him may be said to form the distinctive feature 
of Canadian feudalism, that of clearing his land within a 
limited time, on pain of forfeiting it." This was to prevent 


the lands of the colony from lying waste. "Canadian feudal- 
ism," still quoting Mr. Parkman, "was made to serve a double 
end, — to produce a faint and harmless reflection of French 
aristocracy, and simply and practically to supply agencies 

for distributing land among the settlers." "As the 

seignior was often the penniless owner of a domain three or 
four leagues wide and proportionally deep, he could not clear 
it all himself, and was therefore under the necessity of plac- 
ing the greater part of it in the hands of those who could. 
But he was forbidden to sell any part of it which he had not 
cleared." He must grant it in turn to his vassals, on condi- 
tion of a small annual rent. The usual grant from a seign- 
ior to his vassal included woodland and tillage. It was about 
a mile and a half in depth, with a narrow river frontage. 
The censitaire or tenant, habitant as he is still called, natur- 
ally built on the front of his lot, close by the river, which 
served as his highway, and as his neighbors did the same, a 
single line of dwellings, not far apart, was ranged along the 
shore, forming what is to this day called a cote. A continu- 
ous cote connects Longueuil and Boucherville. The pictur- 
esque beauty of the landscape and the splendor of that win- 
ter day are indescribable. The road of spotless white fol- 
lowed for seven miles along its southern shore the curves of 
the magnificent river. At the right, quaint old dwellings, 
each with its long well-sweep, its Lombardy poplars and its 
rude paling ; the houses a story and a half high, built of 
stones and bits of rock of a rich brown color, irregular in 
size and shape, and imbedded in coarse, gray mortar; high, 
steep roofs, painted black or dull red, with curved and far 
projecting eaves ; huge chimneys at the gable ends, built up 
from the ground outside ; casement windows of different 
shapes and sizes, set without regard to external symmetry, 
.and protected by heavy red wooden shutters ; long, low barns, 
whose warped and weathered sides are crusted with yellow 


lichens, their roofs thickly thatched, the thatch bristling 
erect like a close cut mane, along the ridge-pole. Enormous 
ricks of straw were clustered in the angles of the buildings ; 
shaggy, stout-legged horses huddled together in the barn 
yards, resting their necks on each other ; clumsy Breton 
cows moved slowly about ; dingy, heavy-fleeced sheep poked 
their noses down among the dead grass of the fields, which 
the winds had laid bare in spots. An habitant raking straw 
from a snow-topped rick was the only sign of human life. 
His boots of untanned deer skin, his blouse of blue home- 
spun, belted with a scarlet sash, the taSvSelled peak of his red 
woollen cap falling to his shoulder, gave a bit of bright col- 
or to the picture. Behind the farm buildings lay a vast ex- 
panse of snow-drifted meadow, sparkling as if encrusted 
with gems ; here and there a graceful elm in its naked beau- 
ty ; and in the middle distance, rising abruptly from the 
plain, a pale blue mountain, vague and tender in the rimy 
atmosphere. At the left there was the low slope of the riv- 
er's bank. Now and then the blackened thyrse of a sumach, 
or the dry pod of a milkweed rustled on its stalk, turning 
its buff satin lining to the light. Clumps of the red osier 
and yellow twigs of dwarf willows already gave promise of 
spring. At intervals immense blocks of ice jammed togeth- 
er, formed a rampart that cut off the view. Near Boucher- 
ville the river bank broadened into a great stretch of marsh, 
the haunt of innumerable wild ducks ; and far beyond this 
the long, low Isles of Boucherville broke the otherwise dreary 
expanse of the gulf-like river. 

Road and river, mountain and meadow are the same to-day 
as on that blustering March day in 1 704, when at the disper- 
sion of the captives at Montreal, Jacques de Noyon and his 
young bride wended the same way to his old home at 
Boucherville. Perhaps her husband, pitying her distress,, 
had begged that her father and mother and her young 


brothers and sister might accompany them. The houses 
ma_v have differed somewhat from those of to-day. Doubt- 
less some were built of logs and daubed with clay. What- 
ever the material, the form was the same ; "Such as the peas- 
ants of Normandy built in the reign of the Henries." 

From the northern provinces of France, from Brittany, 
Normandy and Picardy, Canada was peopled. They came 
in such numbers that the king at last instructed his minis- 
ter to inform the intendant that he needed his peasants for 
soldiers and could not afford to depopulate France in order 
to people Canada. Year after year, however, shipload after 
shipload sailed from Rochelle or Dieppe. An anonymous 
writer of the period describes them as "docile, industrious 
and pious." Mr. Parkman adds : "They seem to have been 
in the main, a decent peasantry. Some of them could read 
and write, and some brought with them a little money." 

Renowned as is the town of Noyon in Picardy for its linen 
factories and its magnificent church of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, famous as the place where Charlemagne was first 
crowned and Hugh Capet elected king, it is still more famous 
as the birthplace of Jean Chauvin, or John Calvin, the great 
reformer. It is not unlikely that another John, born in 
Noyon at a time when surnames were unusual, came to be 
known as John of Noyon, or Jean de Noyon. Be this as it 
may, we may assume that among the emigrants who, not- 
withstanding the king's protest, sailed yearly from Rochelle 
or Dieppe, came Jean de Noyon, with his wife, Jeanne 
Fran chard, and Marin Chauvin of the Calvins of Noyon, 
with his wife, Gilette Ban. The women were Normans, 
from the neighborhood of Rouen. I have no doubt that their 
husbands were Picards, old friends and comrades in the 
town of Noyon. They were among the earliest settlers of 
Canada. On the 8th of December, 1650, Marie, daughter of 
Marin and Gilette Chauvin, was baptized at Three Rivers. 


She married at fourteen, Rolin Langlois of Three Rivers, a 
man ten years her senior. He died within three months af- 
ter his marriage, and the youthful widow married the same 
year Jean de Noyon of Three Rivers, she being then fifteen 
and he, twenty-three years of age. This was at the time 
when such an incentive to early marriage was offered by the 
king in yearly pensions to those who should become the par- 
ents of large families. Pierre Boucher was then governor 
of Three Rivers and his daughter married there at the age 
of twelve. 

William, the oldest son of Jean de Noyon, and Marie Chau- 
vin, the widow Langlois, was born about 1666. Their sec- 
ond son, Jacques, our James, was baptized at Three Rivers, 
Feb. i2th, 1668. Jean de Noyon, 2d, son of Jean and of his 
wife, Jeanne Franchard, and father of William and James, 
was an edge tool maker and a master of his trade. A man 
who could make bill hooks and felling axes must have been 
very useful in a new country, and I dare say that Pierre 
Boucher, governor of Three Rivers, offered him some in- 
ducement to become a tenant of his seigniory. Whether 
this be so or not he removed with his family soon after the 
birth of his second son, to Boucherville. There three more 
sons and five daughters were born to him, ten children in 
all. They probably ran about bareheaded and barefooted, 
in scanty clothing, and "grew stout on bread and eels." As 
I find no evidence that any of them became priest, monk or 
nun, I suppose that Jean de Noyon received annually three 
hundred livres of the king's bounty money. This, with what 
he could earn from his trade and the product of his tillage, 
supported the family. The eels of the St. Lawrence, smoked 
and salted, supplied them with much of their food. As they 
grew older the boys hunted and fished, and in winter, per- 
haps, helped their father to fell and hew timber for the mar- 
ket, getting in exchange the bare necessities of life. The 


general testimony concerning the Canadian youth of that 
period is that they would not work, but were idle and unruly, 
and as soon as they could handle a gun they spurned re- 
straint and spent their time in the woods. 

Household drudgery occupied the mother. The girls 
worked in the fields in summer but spent their winters in 
idleness. Domestic spinning and weaving were unknown 
arts in Canada at that time and hemp and flax were not cul- 
tivated till much later. 

Jean de Noyon, master edge tool maker, died in 1692. 
Whether his eldest son, William, who had married three 
years before, lived with his mother and succeeded to forge 
and farm, I know not. At this time the disorders arising 
from the fur trade were at their height. In vain did the 
home government try to regulate or control this traffic. Li- 
censes were granted, annual fairs established, to no purpose. 
Hundreds of young men took to the woods, carrying goods 
and brandy to exchange with the savage for peltries at their 
own price, to sell again at large profits. All the youth and 
the vigor of the colony was absorbed in this irregular trade. 
Men could not be found to till the seignior's acres. Farms 
ran wild again. Agriculture languished. Population di- 
minished. A year or two of this free life in the wilderness 
made men averse to labor and loath to marry. The king was 
in despair. Severe edicts were followed by generous amnes- 
ties. The lawless vagabonds cared no more for one than the 
other. Neither threats of branding, whipping, hard labor 
at the galleys, nor promise of the king's grace and bounty 
could induce this army of coureurs dc bois^ to return to the 
duties and obligations of civilized life. So general was this 
outlawry, that at one time the intendant writes to the minis- 
ter that "There is not a family of any condition or quality 

'Bushrangers. By the Dutch called Bos Loopers: by the English, 


soever that has not children, brothers, uncles and nephews 
among them," and he expresses the fear that if absolute par- 
don is not offered them "they may be drawn to pass over to 
the English, which would be a general loss to the country." 
Again he writes : "The coiirciirs dc hois not only act openly, 
but they carry their peltries to the English and try to drive 
the Indian trade thither."^ There is plenty of evidence that 
the English took advantage of the situation, paid the bush- 
rano-ers twice as much for their beaver skins as the Canadian 
merchants and sold them merchandise at much cheaper 

Jacques, the second son of Jean de Noyon, would have 
been twenty-four years old at his father's death. It is hardly 
probable that under any circumstances he would have stayed 
at home under his brother's rule. Of his career up to the 
time of his appearance in Deerfield I am ignorant. As he 
was probably no better nor worse than his fellows, why may 
we not assume that he was a part of this general exodus of 
the young men ? Official letters from the New York gov- 
ernment confirm the French accounts of the attitude of the 
cojireurs dc bois—Boss lopers as they are called. On Aug. 17, 
1700, David Schuyler writes to the Earl of Bellamont^ that 
Jean Rosie, the interpreter, whom Peter Schuyler mentions 
as an inhabitant of Albany and a very honest man although 
a Frenchman, "told him that there were thirty of the Princi- 
pall Bush loopers, Canadians born, had combined together 
to come to Albany for passes to go to Ottowawa, for the gov- 
ernor of Canada would give them no passes there." In No- 
vember of the same year Samuel York, a Portland man who 
had just been released from a ten years' captivity in Canada, 
and with Jean Rosie, a loyal citizen of Albany, passed fre- 

'Memorial of Duchesneau to the Minister. N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IX, p. 131. 
'■'Memorial of David Schuyler to the Earl of Bellamont. N. Y. Col. Doc. 
Vol. IV, p. 747- 


quently back and forth as envoys between New York and 
Canada, testifies on examination that many of the coiircurs dc 
bois are in the Ottawawa country, "in a sort of rebellion," re- 
fusing to obey the orders of the Canadian governor and "very 
desirous to come to trade here with the English, only fear 
the Five Nations will not suffer them to pass through their 
country."^ York and Rosie also told Governor Bellamont 
that these hunters had assured them they would come and 
offer their services to him and quit Canada forever. Evi- 
dently the governor did not discourage these advances, for 
on the 26th of October, 1700, two French bushrangers ap- 
peared in New York with the following petition : ' 

"My Lord, We, Jean De Noyon and Louis Gosselyn, come to 
place ourselves under your Excellency's protection, in the hope 
that you will allow us to live and trade with King William's sub- 
jects in the town of Albany and grant us the same rights and privi- 
leges as others enjoy, in which case we submit ourselves with prom- 
ise of fidelity to the laws of the government. We are commissioned 
by our comrades to assure you, if our request be granted, that 
twenty-two, all fine young men, will come to Albany next Febru- 
ary. And after that we promise to bring, in the month of Septem- 
ber of the year 1701, thirty brave fellows to the said town of Al- 
bany, all laden with peltry : and finally, we oblige ourselves further 
in good faith to bring, in the aforesaid month of September, on our 
return from hunting, ten or twelve of the principal Sachims of the 
Ottowawa Nations. Dated in New York, this 26. October, 1700. 


l. gossklin." 

The governor acts cautiou.sly, fearing the Greeks, even 
bearing gifts. This opportunity to trade with the Ottowawas 
and to seduce the Northern Indians from their allegiance to 
the French, is a strong temptation. In November he writes 

'Memorial of Samuel York, carpenter. N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IV, p. 749. 
''Memorial of Two French Bushrangers. N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IV, p. 797. 


tentatively to the Lords of Trade, setting- forth the advan- 
tages of beaver hunting in the Ottowawa country.' 

Who was the Jean de Noyon who was in New York in the 
autumn of 1700, as envoy from the rebellious coureurs de boisl 
Jean, the father of Jacques, was dead long before. Jean 
Baptiste, Jacques' brother, was but a lad of fourteen. It 
would be too daring a guess, for a matter of fact historian, 
that it was Jacques himself. It is not impossible that the 
translator of the petition may unconsciously have rendered 
Jacques as Jack, the nickname of John, and thus changed 
the name. This question is left to be solved by future re- 
search, either directly from Canada, or more likely by way 
of Albany. 

Jacques de Noyon, a bushranger, discontented with his 
government and seeking a new home, came to Deerfield. 
That he was thirty-six years old and unmarried favors my 
theory that he had led a roving life. Flattered by the pref- 
erence of the stranger, a man so much older than herself, 
the sober-minded Puritan girl was attracted by the gay iii- 
soiLciance of such a character. His vivacity and intelligence, 
his ardent temperament, his reckless courage, his songs and 
tales of wild adventure captivated her, and under his prom- 
ise that her people should be his people, her God his God, 
she married him. 

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley," and 
suddenly, in a most unexpected manner, Jacques de Noyon 
was restored to his native land. Perhaps his presence on 
that fateful night saved his wife's whole family from the 

On his return to Boucherville, Jacques de Noyon probably 
found his mother and her three youngest children, a son 
and two daughters, living on the old spot. We can imagine 
the stir in the family at the return of the outlaw with his 

'Letter of Bellamont to the Lords of Trade. N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IV, p. 781. 


English bride and her relatives. In the following Decem- 
ber the first child of Jacques de Noyon and Abigail Stebbins 
was born. On the 28th of December, 1704, in the parish 
church of Sainte-Famille at Boucherville, Father de la Sau- 
dray baptized "Rene de Noyons, born the 26th of the same 
month, son of Jacques de Noyon and Gabrielle Stebben, his 
wife living in this parivsh," Jean Boucher, vSieur de Niver- 
ville and Marie de Boucherville standing as sponsors to the 
child. In Gabrielle I recognize the attempt of De Noyon's 
mother and sisters to render into French, Abigail, the harsh 
English name of his wife. Other children followed in rapid 
succession. On the 12th of March, 1706, Father Meriel, who 
seems never to have lost track of a single Deerfield captive, 
baptized Marie Gabrielle, born the day before, Louise de 
Noyon, the baby's aunt, being her godmother. 

Jean Baptiste was born August 1 1, 1707, and baptized the 
next day, his paternal uncle, for whom he was named, acting 
as godfather. This child died "in the communion of the 
holy Catholic church" exactly one year from the day of his 

Up to this time we have no clue to the occupation of 
Jacques de Noyon after his return to Canada. His life in 
the bush had unfitted him for farming ; the forest was his 
element; a young family was pressing upon him for sup- 
port ; a soldier's life was most to his taste, and he became 
a sergeant in Mr. de Tonti's company. This was Alphonse 
de Tonti, younger brother of the distinguished Henri de 
Tonti, friend and companion of La Salle. Father Meriel 
had never ceased importuning De Noyon to have his wife 
baptized into the holy Catholic church. She felt that the 
baptism which she had received from good Parson Williams 
was sufficient, and as her husband's long separation from 
church and priest had made him indifferent, he did not 
urge her. Now that he was turning his back on his former 


life and ranging himself on the side of law and order, and 
as at any moment he might be killed in battle, he probably 
thought it wise to secure for her the protection of the church. 
Accordingly one Monday morning in May, 1708, they pad- 
dled over in their canoe to Montreal, where, as we have al- 
ready seen, she was baptized Marguerite. This was an 
eventful summer. On the 29th of June, her young brother 
Ebenezer, who was living with her, was baptized, receiving 
from his god-father, Jacques Charles de Sabrevois, captain 
of a detachment of the marine, the name of Jacques Charles. 
The certificate is signed by the priest, by De Noyon in a 
handsome handwriting, by De vSabrevois, and by the wife of 
the Seignieur Boucher as god-mother. 

The fourth child of Jacques and Abigail Stebbins de Noy- 
on, was born on the 12th of October, 1708, and named Jean 
Baptiste in memory of his dead brother. His aunt, Therese 
Stebbins, whom we remember as Thankful Stebbins of 
Deerfield, and who was living with her sister Abigail, was 
his godmother. In the record of baptism the baby's mother 
is called by her new name. Marguerite. The father was ab- 
sent on this occasion, being doubtless with his company at 
Fort Frontenac, then commanded by Captain de Tonti. It is 
probable that Abigail's father and mother and brother John 
had ere this been released from captivity. Before the birth 
of their next child, Francois, baptized July 7th, 17 10, Jacques 
de Noyon had removed his family to the Cote St. Joseph, 
another part of the parish of Boucherville. This must have 
been an equal relief to his mother and his wife. I fancy 
that the housekeeping now began to show New England 
thrift and industry, and that the noise of the shuttle and the 
cheerful hum of the spinning wheel were soon heard in the 
new home. Dorothee, named for her grandmother Steb- 
bins, was baptized Oct. 3, 171 1. Then followed Marie Jo- 
seph, who died in infancy, Jacques Rene, Marie Charlotte, an- 


other Marie Joseph, Marie Magdalen, and finally Joseph, born 
June 21, 1724. 

Rene, the eldest of these children, when about ten years 
old, had been sent with a party of French and Indian trad- 
ers to visit his grandparents in Deerfield. His grandfather 
Stebbins induced him to stay, and when the hunters were 
ready to go back Rene could not be found. Not understand - 
ino- the boy's pronunciation of his own name, or wishing 
him to bear a more godly appellation, his grandfather called 
him Aaron. So Rene de Noyon grew up in Deerfield as 
Aaron Denio. In 1723, John Stebbins died. In his will he 
left one-eighth of his lands to each of his children then in 
Canada, to wit : Samuel, Ebenezer, Joseph, Abigail and 
Thankful, provided they would come and live in New Eng- 
• land. Each one's share, if he died in New England, was to 
descend to his heirs ; otherwise, to revert to those who re- 
mained in New England. 

"Those that will not live in New England," says the old man, 
"shall have five shillings apiece, and no more Yet be it for- 
ever understood that if my daughter Abigail come not and tarry as 
above said, then Aaron Denieur, her son, shall be my Heir in her 
Room and Stead, provided Said Aaron continue in this Countrey 
then. After my decease and my wife's decease. Said Aaron shall 
enter upon that which should have been his mother's part, and pos- 
sess it until his mother comes, but if She come not and fulfill the 
above said Conditions, and Aaron stays in New England and doth 
fulfill them, then the said eighth part of my lands to descend to 

said Aaron's heirs forever." And if some of my children, 

now in Canada, shall come and fulfill the conditions though 

the rest come not then my lands shall be divided between my son 

John and Aaron, and those that do come John having three 

times as much as one of the rest 

It is to be supposed that Jacques and Abigail de Noyon 
had heard at intervals from their son, and that Rene had in- 


formed his mother of his grandfather's death. His uncle 
John must also have notified his brothers and sisters in Can- 
ada of the conditions of their father's will. After much talk, 
Abigail decided to accompany her brother Samuel to Deer- 
field. It was certainly no mercenary motive that led her to 
undertake such a journey under the circumstances. Five 
shillings was to be her dole if she returned to Canada, and 
to husband and children she must return. But her heart 
yearned for the boy from whom she had been separated for 
years. She longed — who does not ? — to revisit the home of 
her childhood and to see her old mother once more before 
she died. How or when the journey was performed, how 
long the visit lasted, and what was her escort on her return 
to Canada, I know not. I only know that in Deerfield, on 
the 27th of February, 1726, her thirteenth and last child was 

The little Marie Anne, "born," so the record reads, "at 
Guerfil, in New England, on the 27th of February, 1726," 
was baptized at Boucherville on the 5th of November of the 
same year, her eldest sister, Gabrielle de Noyon, then the 
wife of Nicholas Binet, being her godmother. 

Samuel Stebbins remained in Deerfield. 

At the marriage of one of Abigail de Noyon's daughters 
at Boucherville in 1731, Nicolas Binet and Joseph Stebbins, 
uncle of the bride, both from the parish of Chambly, appear 
as witnesses. 

About 1734 Joseph vStebbins married Marguerite Sanssou- 
cy. He died the 23d of April, 1753, aged fifty-two. Their 
descendants still live in Chambly. Marie Chauvin, the 
mother of Jacques de Noyon, died in 1723, the same year as 
his wife's father. 

Abigail de Noyon, born Abigail Stebbins of Deerfield, died 
at the age of sixty, and was buried at Boucherville, on the 
15th of November, 1740. Her husband, Jacques de Noyon, 


aged about seventy-eight, was buried on the 12th of May, 


Here ended my hunt after the captives. It was as if I 
had laid the ghosts of unburied shades that had wandered, 
restless, haunting my whole life. It was a sad satisfaction 
to find that these offsets from the first planting of Deerfield, 
though rudely transplanted, had not been utterly blasted ; 
that when the sting of their first grief was over, these young 
men and maidens in their turn had loved, inarried, reared 
children, founded homes, and at length rested in peace. 



The name of Somers Islands, corrupted in our time to 
"Summer Islands," was given to the Bermudas, not, as many 
suppose, on account of their genial climate, but because of 
the shipwreck there in 1610 of Sir George Somers and his 
companions on a voyage to Virginia. Up to that time, 
doubtless because of their dangerous coast, the "still vexed 
Bermoothes," had been known to the English as the "He of 
Divels,^ and reputed a most prodigious and inchanted 

place never inhabited by any Christian or Heathen 


The report of the shipwrecked men who dwelt nine months 
upon the islands, enjoying the balmy air, and finding the 
soil "abundantly fruitful of all fit necessaries for the susten- 
tation and preservation of man's life," removed all fears of 
the He of Divels from the minds of the venturous youth of 

Sir George Somers sold his claim to the Bermudas, to a 

'Pamphlet by Silvester Jourdan, published in London, 1610. "A Dis- 
cription of the Bermudas otherwise called the He of Divels." 


company of one hundred and twenty, who got a charter for 
their settlement and in 1612, sent out sixty settlers. During 
the civil war in England, and immediately after, many per- 
sons took refuge there. The poet Waller invested money 
in Bermuda land, and Mr. Edmund Gosse thinks that he 
wrote his poem of the "Battle of the vSummer Islands" as an 
advertisement of his plantation to his rich and noble friends. 
In exchange for the products of the Islands England sent 
cloth, which, says the poet, 

"Not for warmth, but ornament is worn 

Such is the mould, that the blest tenant feeds. 
On precious fruits, — and pays his rent in weeds; 

With candy'd plantain, and the juicy pine, 
On choicest melons, and sweet grapes they dine, 

And with Potatoes feed their wanton swine. 

Tobacco is the worst of weeds which they 
To English landlords, as their tribute pay. 

So sweet the air, — so moderate the clime. 

None sickly lives, or dies before his time ; 
For the kind spring which but salutes us here. 

Inhabits there, and courts them all the year." 

Dear to the student of New England genealogies is a book 
entitled "Original Lists of Persons of Quality, Emigrants, 
Religious Exiles, Political Rebels, Serving men sold for a 
term of years. Apprentices, Children stolen. Maidens pressed 
and others, who went from Great Britain to the American 
Plantations from 1600 to 1700." According to this book, on 
the 13th day of September, 1635, the good ship Dorset, 
John Flower, Master, weighed anchor at London "bound for 
y® Bermodas." Aboard her was a motley company, ninety- 
five passengers all told. Full half were lads under eight- 
een. Eight had already reached that important age. The 
rest were mostly young men under thirty-five, half a dozen 
of whom were accompanied by their wives. Among the 
passengers were two ministers. Rev. Geo. Turk and Rev. 
Daniel Wite or White. Two linger longest at the stern, as 


the ship slowly leaves her moorings, Judith Bag-ley, a lone, 
lorn woman of fifty-eight, apparently with no kith nor kin to 
keep her company, and James Rising, a resolute stripling 
of eighteen, — -the only one of his name discoverable among 
the founders of New England. 

To which of the afore-mentioned lists shall we refer this 
ship's company ? "What sought they thus afar?" For lack 
of present knowledge, I shall assume that love of adventure 
led James Rising to seek his fortune in the New World, and 
that he came, apprenticed for a term of years to labor in the 
Bermudas. Of his life there, we have as yet no details. Sugar 
and molasses became important exports from the islands, 
and New England afforded a good market for the latter ar- 
ticle, being then largely engaged in the distillation of rum 
from molasses. 

"Att a general town meeting held at Salem on the 20th 
day of the 4th month of the year 1657 James Rising is re- 
ceived an Inhabitant into this Towne." About three weeks 
later, on the 7th of July, 1657, he married at Boston, Eliza- 
beth, daughter of Robert Hinsdell, the sturdy pioneer of 
Dedham, Medfield and Deerfield. I conclude that he prob- 
ably chose Salem as his home in New England, as being a 
port of entry for ships, freighted with the products of the 
islands. He was admitted as a member of the First Church 
in Salem, on the 22nd day of the i ith month, 1661,^ by a let- 
ter from his Pastor Wite or White of the church in Bermu- 
da. On the 20th day of the 2nd month, 1663,^ his daughter 
Hannah was baptized in the First Church of Salem. Whether 
his two sons James and John, were older or younger than 
their sister is unknown. 

Windsor, Conn., was at that time a leading commercial 
town, and carried on an extensive trade with the West In- 

ijan. 20. O. S. -April 20. O. S. 


dies and adjacent islands. There was no bridge at Hartford, 
and Windsor became a noted port of entry, not only for 
coasters and West India vessels, but for English ships. The 
river was at all times full of vessels loading and unloading 
there, and "Windsor green, often heaped with goods" await- 
ing storage or transportation, "was lively with jovial sea 
captains" and sunburned sailors. Making and shipping pipe- 
vStaves was an important industry of this vicinity, and James 
Rising may have wished to add this branch of trade to his 
business. However this may be, he was "voted an inhabi- 
tant of Windsor," on March iith, 1668, and the next year 
he was formally dismissed by letter from the church of Sa- 
lem to that of Windsor. There his wife died on the i ith of 
August, 1669, Four years later he married the Widow Mar- 
tha Bartlett, who died in less than a year after her marriage. 
It is said that he kept the ferry at Windsor. To the contri- 
bution made by that town to the sufferers from Philip's war 
in other colonies, James Rising gave five shillings, his son 
John one shilling and sixpence, and his daughter Hannah, 
one and three pence. 

The same year a grant of fifty acres was allotted to him in 
Suffield, and in 1682 as a proprietor he voted at the organi- 
zation of that town. There in 1688 at the age of seventy- 
one he died. 

Of his daughter Hannah nothing more appears. His son 
James died unmarried two years after the father's death, 
being taken care of in his last illness by his brother John, 
who inherited his estate. 

John Rising lived at Suffield. His first wife was Sarah, 
daughter of Timothy Hale of Windsor, By her he had nine 
children. Josiah, their seventh child, was born Feb. 2nd, 
1694. His mother died when he was but four years old, and 
his father soon married again. The stepmother, burdened 
with the care of a house full of children, the eldest of whom 


was but fourteen, probably found little Josiah, a robust boy 
of five, a trial to her patience. At some unknown period, 
probably on the birth of a new baby in 1702, he was sent to 
Deerfield to stay with his father's cousin, Mehuman Hinsdell. 

Leaving little Josiah Rising with his cousins in Deerfield, 
we must go back and take up another thread of our story. 

It is the morning of the 24th of vSeptember, 1667: the day 
when the County Court begins its fall session at Springfield. 
A crowd is already gathering at the ordinary, so the inn of 
the olden time was called, a room being always set apart 
there for the holding of the court. Men with pointed beards 
and close cropped hair, in tall steeple-crowned hats, short 
jerkins of a sad color with wide white wristbands turned 
back over the sleeves ; leather belts, broad falling collars 
stiffly starched, tied with a cord and tassel at the throat, 
hanging down on the breast and extending round on the 
back and shoulders ; full trousers reaching the knee, where 
they are fastened with a bow : long, gray woollen stockings, 
and stout leather shoes, broad, low and well oiled, complete 
the costume. Some of the younger men are in great boots 
rolled over at the top, and slouching in wrinkles about the 

The women are in steeple hats, not unlike those of the 
men, — and Mother Hubbard cloaks. Some are bareheaded or 
wear a handkerchief over the head, with white kerchief 
pinned straight down from the throat to the waist, white 
cuffs and long, white aprons covering the front of their gray 
or black woollen gowns. The boys and girls, miniature 
copies of their elders, except that the boys wear woollen 
caps with visors, and the girls, close fitting hoods of the 
same material. 

A constable armed with a long, black staff tipped with 
brass, having three youths in charge, forces his way through 
the crowd. They have been sent by the commissioners at 


Northampton, to be tried and sentenced at Springfield. The 
culprits are pale and evidently frightened. The face of the 
youngest, a mere child, is swollen with weeping. The oth- 
ers, who are perhaps sixteen and seventeen years old, affect 
an indifference to their situation which their pallor belies. 
It is easy to vSee that the eldest is the most hardened of the 

"In sooth they are not ill looking lads," said a gossip, "I 
marvel of what evil they are accused." "The little one is 
the son of Goodman John Stebbins our former neighbor," 
said another, "He numbers scarce twelve summers, yet me- 
thinks he is old in sin, for they say he hath entered the 
house of his stepmother's father, with intent to steal." "One 
Godfrey Nims is the ringleader of these villanies," put in 
a third. "He hath conspired with the others to run away to 
Canady, under the guidance of a drunken Indian varlet. who 
hath been hanging about Northampton of late." "It is be- 
lieved that Goodman Hutchinson will intercede with the 
Court in behalf of Benitt," added the last speaker, "he hath 
lately taken the lad's mother to wife." "Poor boys," said a 
young mother, who led her little son by the hand, "I hope 
our Worshipful magistrate will mercifully consider their 
youth, and the shame to their parents." 

"Our magistrate is a God-fearing man," replied a stern 
Puritan father at her elbow. He will deal justly with the 
malefactors, but it behooves him not to be merciful over- 
much. Our young men are getting overbold in their car- 
riage. Our maidens wear silk in a flaunting manner, and 
indulge in excess of apparill to the offence of sober people. 
They must be taught to fear God, to obey the law and hon- 
or their parents." 

"Ay, verily, it were better if they were more often admon- 
ished and scourged," interrupted a hard-faced woman, "and 
for my part I should like to see a score of lashes well laid on 


to the backs of these knaves I misdoubt if they get off with 

The entrance of the magistrates and jurors put a stop to 
the talk, and the trial proceeded. The story is told in the 
records far better than I could tell it : 

"Sept. 24, 1667. Att the County Court holden att Springfield, 
Capt. John Pynchon one of the Honored Assistants of this Colony 
presiding, "James Bennett, Godfrey Nims and Benoni Stebbins, 
young lads of Northampton being by Northampton Commissioners 
bound over to this Court to answere for diverse crimes and mis- 
deeds comitted by them, were brought to this court by y^' constable 
of y' towne, w^'' 3 lads are accufed by Robert Bartlett, for that they 
gott into his house two Sabbath days, when all the family were at 
the Publike Meeting, on y^ first of which tymes, they, viz Nims 
and Stebbins did ransack about the house, and took away out of 
diverse places of the house viz, 24 shillings in silver and 7 sh. in 
Wampum, with intention to run away to the ffrench, all W-^'' is by 
them confessed; w''' wickedness of theirs hath allso been accom- 
panyed with frequent lying to excuse and justify themselves espec- 
ially on Nims his part, who it sems hath been a ringleader in the 
villanyes ; ffor all which their crimes and misdemeands this corte 
doth judge y' the said 3 lads shall bee well whipt on their naked 
bodies, viz Nims and Bennett with 25 lashes apeece and Benoni 
Stebbyngs with 11 lashes; and the said Nims and Stebbins are to 
pay Robert Bartlett the Summe of 4^ being accounted treble dam- 
age, according to law for what goods he hath lost by their means. 
Allso those persons that have received any money of any of the 
said lads, are to restore it to the s^ Robert Bartlett. But their be- 
ing made to the Corte an earneft pitition & request by Ralph 
Hutchinson, father in law to y*^ said Bennet, and diverse other con 
siderable persons, that the said Bennett's corporall punishment 
might be released, by reason of his mother's weaknese, who it 
seemed may suffer much inconvenience thereby, that punishment 
was remitted upon his father in law his engaging to this corte, to 
pay ffive pounds to ye County, as a fyne for the said Benitts of- 


fence; which 5^^ is to be paid to ye county Treasurer for ye use of 
Sd county. Allso John Stebbins Junior, being much suspected to 
have some hand in their plotting to run away, This Corte doth 
order ye Commissioners of Northampton to call him before y", & 
to examine him about that, or any other thing wherein he is sup- 
posed to be guilty with y^ said lads and to act therein according to 
their discretion attending law. Also they are to call the Indian 
called Onequelat, who had a hand with ^'" in their plott, and to 
deale with him according as they fynd." 

The three thoroughly scared boys were sent back the 
next day to Northampton. There let us hope that little 
Benoni was taken from the grasp of the law, and put into 
his father's hands for chastisement. Bennett's fine was paid 
by his stepfather. As for Godfrey Nims he paid the penal- 
ty of his misdeeds at the whipping post in front of the meet- 
ing house. Alas for poor Godfrey I he lived in the age when 
a spade was called a spade. Lying was lying in good old 
colony days. Nobody thought of applying to the wild boy 
the soft impeachment of being an imaginative youth. The 
luckless wight had no indulgent friends to plead for him 
that "boys must be boys" and that wild oats must be sown. 
Wild oats were an expensive luxury in those days, as poor 
Godfrey found to his cost. Doubtless he was a disorderly 
fellow, yet without wishing to palliate his offence, I may say 
that he was without the good influences of a home life. 
There is no evidence of his having father or mother, kith or 
kin at Northampton. An active and excitable lad, with no 
legitimate scope under Puritan rule for his surplus energy, 
he fell in with the Indian vagrant, by whose tales of bush- 
ranging, his soul was fired to daring and reckless deeds. It 
is of such stuff that pioneers and heroes are often made. 

Another turn of the kaleidoscope gives us a better picture 
of these impulsive youths. 

It is the 1 8th of May, 1676. The sun, sinking behind the 


western hills, throws a golden glow over meadow and river. 
The Holyoke range is already in shadow, A force of about 
one hundred and forty-four men is gathered at Hatfield, 
awaiting the order to march against Philip's horde, for it 
was now the "generall voyceof the people" that "it was time 
to distress the enemy and drive them from their fishing at 
Peskeompskut.^ Nearly all are mounted ; a few on foot. 
Among the volunteers from Northampton are Godfrey Nims 
and James Bennett, comrades to-day in a righteous cause. 
Nims as usual with a dare-devil look in his eyes, resolute, 
careless and ready for any fate ; Bennett more serious and 
subdued. The Reverend Hope Atherton, chaplain of the 
expedition, pours out his soul in prayer for the little army, 
and the cavalcade moves northward. Who at that moment 
remembered the youthful escapade of Godfrey Nims and 
James Bennett ? vSurely not Alary Broughton, who stood 
sobbing among the women that watched their departure. 
She had married Bennett in 1674, not long after she herself, 
had had a brush with the magistrates. At the March Court'^ 
of 1673, held at Northampton by Worshipful John Pynchon, 
Captain Holyoke and Deacon Chapin, Maid Mary Broughton 
had been severely admonished, and fined ten shillings for 
wearing a silk hood or scarf contrary to law. A sympathetic 
revolt against Puritan discipline may have attracted Bennett 
and Mary Broughton to each other. Their happiness was 
short-lived. On Saturday Nims brought her the sad news 
that Bennett had been killed in the Falls fight. In the spring 
of 1677, the young widow married Benoni Stebbins, her hus- 
band's dearest friend, another of the trio of bad boys of 
Northampton. Soon after his marriage Benoni Stebbins 
joined Quentin Stockwell and several other bold men who 

^Now Turner's Falls. 

^Courts were held in March at Northampton, and in September at Spring- 


returned to Deerfield two years after the massacre at Bloody- 
Brook, to begin a new settlement. There Stebbins worked 
early and late at the house to which he fondly hoped to bring 
his bride before winter should set in. At the end of their 
day's work on the 19th of September, 1677, they were sur- 
prised by twenty-six Indians from Canada under Ashpelon. 
Hurried up from the clearing to the mountain, they found 
there seventeen people from Hatfield who had been seized 
the same day, and with them, began the weary march to 
Canada. They were the first to follow that woful road, trav- 
elled later by so many New England captives. Crossing and 
recrossing the Connecticut, they journeyed rapidly by day. 
At night they lay stretched on their backs upon the ground, 
a rope about their necks, arms and legs extended and tied 
to "stakes so that they could stir nowayes." Halting thirty 
miles above Northfield, Ashpelon sent Benoni Stebbins back 
towards Lancaster, to notify a part of his band to join him 
on the Connecticut. On the return, Stebbins escaped on the 
2nd of October and reached Hadley in safety. His own ac- 
count taken down in writing on the 6th by the postmaster 
of Northampton, says that "being sent out with two squaws 
and a mare to pick huckleberries, he "got upon the mare 
and rid till he tired the mare, then ran on foot, and so es- 
caped, being two days and a half without victuals." 

Notwithstanding the sorrows and perils that so beset the 
life of Mary Broughton, her high spirit seems not to have 
been crushed. The following from the Court Records of 
March 26, 1678, shows that she never yielded a woman's 
right to make herself look as pretty as she could, and that 
she was tipheld in her resistance by her admiring husband. 

"Mary wife of Benoni Stebbins being presented to this Court for 
wearing silk contrary to law, and for that she agravates it by per- 
sisting in it, when as she was once presented before : This court 
considering the agravation, and how unfit such things are in this 


day of trouble, did adjudge her to pay a fine of 10 shillings : As al- 
so Benoni Stebbins, openly affronting the court in saying he would 
not pay the money due for fees to the clerk of the Court; this Court 
ajudged him to pay as a Fine to the County 10 sh. forthwith, and 
committed him to the constable for the payment of the aforesaid 

Benoni Stebbins returned to Deerfield at its permanent 
settlement in 1682, becoming a prominent citizen there, and 
filling the highest town offices creditably to himself and ac- 
ceptably to his neighbors. Mary, his wife, died in 1689. 

About the time of Benoni Stebbins's marriage, Godfrey 
Nims had wedded the Widow Mary Williams and become 
the guardian of her little boy. He owned land in Deerfield 
in 1674, and if he were not, as tradition declares, one of the 
first three inhabitants,^ he and Benoni Stebbins with their 
families, were certainly among the earliest permanent set- 
tlers. Godfrey Nims, cordwainer, appears to have been an 
industrious and law abiding citizen. He was the first con- 
stable of Deerfield, being chosen in 1689, and later held oth- 
er town offices. 

In 1692 on his marriage to his second wife, Mehi table 
Smead, widow of Jeremiah Hull, he bought the lot on which 
the second church, the town house and Memorial Hall now 
stand, and built a house which was burned Jan. 4th, 1693-4. 
His little stepson, Jeremiah Hull, perished in the flames. 
The same year he bought the adjoining lot, building again 
on the site which has ever since been held by his descend- 
ants. When Joseph Barnard was wounded at Indian Bridge, 
and his horse killed under him, Godfrey Nims bravely took 
the helpless man upon his own horse, which being soon shot 
down, he was forced to mount behind Philip Mattoon, and 
"so got safely home." 

Immediately upon Queen Anne's accession, the people of 

'Samuel Hinsdell and Samson Frary were in Deerfield in 1670. 


Deerfield began to make ready to meet the tempest from 
the north which they felt to be impending-. The fort was 
"righted up," the school master was asked to help the se- 
lectmen "in wording a petition to the governor for help in 
the distress occasioned by a prospect of war." In the sum- 
mer of 1703, Peter Schuyler warned the people of Deerfield 
that an expedition against them was fitting out in Canada. 
Those who had settled at a distance from Meeting House 
Hill, began to seek shelter within the palisade. Twenty 
soldiers were sent as a garrison to the settlement. On the 
8th of October John Nims and Zebediah Williams, son and 
stepson of Godfrey Nims, while looking after their cows in 
the meadow, were captured by Indians, and carried to Can- 
ada. Such was the alarm and distress of the people, that 
they urged their minister to address the government in 
their behalf. The letter is a credit to pastor and people. 
In asking for relief from taxation as the fortification must 
be rebuilt, Mr. Williams says: "I never found the people 
unwilling to do, when they had the ability, yea they have 
often done above their ability." He speaks of the ".sorrow- 
ful parents and distressed widow of the poor captives taken" 
from them, as requesting the governor "to endeavor that 
there may be an exchange of prisoners to their release." 
Parson Stoddard of Northampton also wrote to Governor 
Dudley in behalf of Deerfield. He tells him that the people 
are much depressed and discouraged by the captivity of two 
of their young men, and asks that dogs may be trained to 
hunt the Indians, "who act like wolves and are to be dealt 
withall as wolves." To this letter dated Northampton, Oct. 
22, 1703, the following postscript is added : "Since I wrote, 
the father of the two captives^ belonging to Deerfield has 
importunately desired me to write to your Ex'cy that you 
w** endeavor the Redemption of his children." 

'Godfrey Nims. 


Notwithstanding the general uneasiness, private affairs 
went on as usual. Birth, marriage, death, like time and 
tide, stay for naught. Winter wore to spring. The soldiers 
were still billeted in the homes of the people. The minds 
of all were tense with anxiety. The air was thick with 
omens. Sounds were heard in the night as of the tramping 
of men around the fort. March came in like a lion. The 
village lay buried in the snow, the people in sleep. In that 
hour before dawn when night is darkest and slumber deep- 
est, the long-dreaded storm burst ; unexpected at the last, 
like all long-expected events. On what a wreck the morning 
broke ! Benoni Stebbins, after fighting for hours like a ti- 
ger at bay, lay dead in his house. In the southeast angle of 
the fort, Godfrey Nims's house was still burning, three of 
his little girls somewhere dead among the embers. His 
daughter, Rebecca Mattoon, and her baby, slain by the tom- 
ahawk. Ebenezer, his seventeen years old son, his step- 
daughter, Elizabeth Hull, aged sixteen ; his wife with Abi- 
gail, their youngest child, about four years old, already on 
the march to Canada. 

His opposite neighbor, Mehuman Hinsdale, bereft of wife 
and child by the same blow,— also a captive, with the boy 
Josiah Rising, his little Suffield cousin, whom he had taken 
into his home and heart. Did Godfrey Nims and Benoni 
Stebbins in those hours of horror, remember how in their 
boyhood, they had "plotted together to run away to the 
ffrench" with Onequelatt the Indian ? 

How Thankful Nims and her family were saved by a 
snowdrift: how Godfrey's wife was killed on the march: 
how Zebediah Williams died at Quebec, firm in the Protes- 
tant faith: how John Nims escaped from captivity, and was 
finally married in Deerfield to his step-sister, Elizabeth 
Hull: how Ebenezer Nims contrived to outwit the good 
priests, who were faithfully trying to secure his sweetheart's 


conversion^ by marrying her to a Frenchman : how Mehu- 
man Hinsdale came back to Deerfield, and was again "capti- 
vated by ye Indian vSalvages," are matters of history. But 
what of Abigail Nims and Josiah Rising? 

Up to this moment, from the hour when cruelly roused 
from the innocent sleep of childhood, they were dragged 
towards the north, over the snowbound meadows and icy 
river, this question has been asked in vain. Thanks to the 
careful records made at the time by Canadian priest and 
nun, and thanks again to the kind help given me by Cana- 
dian priest and nun of to-day we can now follow the fortunes 
of the two captives, so rudely torn from home and kin. 

In the history of New France there is no more interesting 
and romantic chapter, than that of the life and labors of 
Marguerite Bourgeois. To bring about the conversion of 
the savages by giving to their children a Christian education, 
was her dearest wish. Not only literally but figuratively 
did she plant the cross on the mountain of Montreal.- In 
1676, the priests of Saint-Sulpice built a chapel on the moun- 
tain and founded there a mission for such Iroquois and 
others, as wished to settle on the island of Montreal. In 
1680, soon after the school for Indian boys was begun at the 
mission of the mountain. Marguerite Bourgeois sent two 
nuns of the Congregation there to teach the girls. 

In 1685 forty Indian girls were in training at this school. 
It takes but a moment to tell the story, but the pain, peril 
and privation, the self-abnegation, the devotion by which 
this result was achieved, cannot be estimated. This Indian 
village, palisaded to protect the Christianized Iroquois from 
the attacks of their savage brethren, who were incensed 
against the converts, was an out-post of defence for Montreal 
itself. Destroyed by fire in 1694, through the carelessness 

'Sara Hoyt. 

'Vie de Marguerite Bourgeois, Tome I, p. 274. 


of a drunken Indian, the fort was rebuilt of stone, with rude 
towers at each angle, two of which were set apart for the 
nuns and their school. 

In 1 701, disturbed by the opportunity afforded the Indians 
by their nearness to the town of obtaining strong liquors, 
yet unwilling to deprive Montreal of their help in case of 
attack from their enemies, the priests removed the mission 
to the other side of the mountain, to a picturesque spot 
called Sault au Recollet, on the bank of the Riviere des 
Prairies. There they built a church, modelled after the 
Chapel de Notre Dame de Lorette in Italy, and a house for 
themselves and their school. The Sisters of the Congrega- 
tion also erected there a building for themselves and for a 
school for girls.^ The village and mission building were en- 
closed by a palisade with three bastions. 

It was to the Sault au Recollet fort that our two captives, 
doubtless with others from Deerfield were carried at once on 
their arrival in Canada. The squaw Ganastarsi, probably 
the wife or mother of her captor, gladly took little Abigail 
into her bark wigwam, and Josiah Rising was led to that of 
his Macqua master. There they lived in true Indian fashion, 
rolling in the dirt with the pappooses and puppies with which 
the village was swarming, and quickly catching the Iroquois 
language. To Josiah, the savages gave the name of Shoen- 
takSanni of which the French equivalent is // hii a Ste son 
village} Abigail was known as T8atog8ach, which ren- 
dered into French is ''Elle retire de Veaiiy^ 

'It is an interesting fact that Soeur Marie des Anges, the Lady Superior of this 
mission school, was herself a New England captive. She was Marie Genevieve 
Sayer [SaywardJ taken with her mother and sister, Feb. 5, 1692, at York, Me. 

'^"He has taken away his village." 

•^"She picks something out of the water." 

For this and for other valuable assistance, I am indebted to the kindness 
of Rev. Pere Cuoq, the venerable mission priest at Oka, an adept in the Iro- 
quois language, and of more than local renown for his scholarship, c. A. B. 


The little four years old English girl, with her uncouth 
name, her pale face and her yellow hair, did not long escape 
the notice of the holy sisters of the mission. The following 
is a translation of her French record of baptism ; 

"On the 15th day of June of the year 1704, the rites of baptism have 
been admhiistered by me, the undersigned, to a little English girl, 
named in her own country Abigail, and now Mary Elizabeth; born 
in Dearfielde, in New England the 31st of May, of the year 1700, 
of the marriage of Geoffrey Nimbs cordwainer, and of Meetable 
Smeed also deceased. The child, taken at the said place the elev- 
enth of March last, and living in the wigwam of a squaw of the 
Mountain, named Ganastarsi. The god-mother was Demoiselle 
Elizabeth Le Moine, daughter of Monsieur Charles Le Moine es- 
quire, Bartm de Longueuil, chevalier of the order of Saint-Louis, 
and captain of a company, — with Francois Bonnet who says that he 
cannot sign. 

Signed Marie Elizabeth Longueuil. Meriel, pretre." 

What the nuns of the Congregation did for little Abigail, 
was done for Josiah Rising by the good priests of Saint-Sul- 
pice at the Sault au RecoUet mission. He was baptized on 
the 23rd of December, 1706, being then about eleven years 
old. The name Ignace was given him, and it was as Ignace 
Raizenne on Canadian records, that I recognized Josiah 

Picture the life of these children at the Indian fort. The 
dark, cold, smoky wigwam; the scanty clothing in which they 
had been snatched from home all rags and dirt, replaced at 
last by a blanket which was their dress by day, their bed at 
night; coarse and unpalatable food; corn pounded, soaked 
and boiled in unsavory pottage; roasted pumpkin a rare lux- 
ury. Better times came for the poor waifs when they could 
go to school. There they were decently clad, for Marguerite 
Bourgeois knew that the first step towards Christianizing 
any people, is to make them dress decently and to inspire 


them with a love of work. "If you can introduce petticoats 
and drawers into your mission," wrote Monsieur Tronson, 
"you will make yourself famous ; nothing would be more 
useful, or fraught with better results."' 

At school, they learned to sing and chant, to read and write 
and to speak French. The catechism and creed were taught 
in French, as well as in English and Indian. The girls 
learned to sew and knit, to spin and make lace. The boys 
were instructed in carpentry, shoemaking, mason work and 
other trades.^ 

But Sunday, so gloomy to the children of Puritan house- 
holds, was the day of days to the girls and boys of the mis- 
sion. Then Abigail went in procession with the other girls 
to mass and saw the gorgeous altar cloths and vestments, 
and the candles burning brightly, and the pictures of the 
saints, and little Jesus and his mother looking kindly down 
upon her. She sat close to Sister des Anges, and crossed 
herself and said her prayers, and felt very good and very 
happy; only she wished that ShoentakSanni would just look 
at her; but he sat among the choir boys and sang away and 
never lifted his eyes from his book. 

I like to think of the busy school days and cheerful Sun- 
days of the little New England captives, thus cared for by 
gentle nun and kindly priest. We must not forget, how- 
ever, that the "Oso" fort,-^ as the New England captives 
called the fort at Sault au RecoUet, had its sadder pictures. 

Sometimes an Indian would come back from the town, en- 
raged by the white man's fire-water, and bringing the news 

'Lettre de M. Tronson a M. de Belmont, April 15, 1685, in "Viede Mar- 
guerite Bourgeois," Vol. I, part II, p. 289. 

-Vie de Marguerite Bourgeois, Vol. I, part II, p. 289, 292. 

^The French, doubtless, spokeof visiting this mission as going "Au Sault." 
[Pronounced O-so.J Hence the English naturally called it the "Oso Fort," A 
Newbury captive in his narrative calls Sault au Recollet, "Sadrohelly," the 
nearest approach he could make to the French pronunciation. 


that some "Bastonnais" had arrived in Montreal. Every 
messenger from our government, no matter how far from 
Boston his home might be, was a "Bastonnais," in Canada. 

Then Abigail's master would threaten to carry her into the 
woods, and Ganastarsi would be very cross, and call her 
Kanaskwa, the slave, ^ and possibly, give the child a slap in 
the face, — for she had grown fond of T8atog8ach and did 
not mean to give her up to the Bastonnais if she could help it. 
Sister des Anges and the other nuns would seem distressed 
and anxious, and kept the little girl day and night at the 
convent, out of sight of any possible English visitors. Abi- 
gail was too young to mind much about anyof this, but 
Josiah knew, and I dare say, asked the school master if he 
might not go home with the messengers. At this the priest 
would frown and speak sharply to the lad, reproaching him 
with ingratitude to the Indian who had saved his life. No 
doubt he would tell the boy what he himself sincerely be- 
lieved, that if he went back to Protestant New England, his 
soul would be damned eternally. When Josiah's master 
heard about this, he beat the boy and sent him off to the 
woods with a hunting party. 

Deacon Sheldon came back from his embassy in 1705 with 
but five captives, not having even seen his boys, who, he was 
told, had "gone a honten." Shortly after this, bitterly dis- 
appointed at not being allowed to go home with Deacon 
Sheldon, John Nims, Martin Kellogg, Joseph Petty and 
Thomas Baker ran away. It went harder with Josiah and 
the rest after this. Ensign Sheldon must have have kept the 
Sault au Recollet mission in a stir in the first years of the 
captivity. He was certainly there twice in the spring of 
1706. Among his accounts is an item of 12 livres paid "for a 
carrialF to goe to see the captives at the Mohawk fort," and 

'Abigail appears once on the records by this name. 
'A carriole is a Canadian sleigh. 


"4 livres more for a second visit." He probably saw Josiah 
and Abigail at this time, but they were not among those 
whom he brought home. Grim and direful scenes our two 
captives saw, when the war parties returned with scalps and 
prisoners. Then two long rows of savages armed with clubs 
and hatchets, were formed at the gate of the fort. Between 
these the weary and footsore captives ran for nearly three- 
quarters of a mile, the savages mocking and striking at them 
as they ran. Then came the dreadful pow-wow, when the 
poor sufferers were made to sing and dance round a great 
fire, while their tormentors yelled and shrieked. The chil- 
dren saw many of their Deerfield neighbors brought into 
the fort in this way. Martin Kellogg in the fall of 1708, 
Josiah's cousin, Mehuman Hinsdell the next spring, and 
Joseph Clesson and John Arms in June, 1709, all ran the 
gauntlet at the Oso fort. 

After John Sheldon's third journey to Canada in 1707, 
there had been no general exchange of prisoners. In the 
summer of 171 2, the Canadian governor proposed that the 
English captives in Canada should be "brought into or near 
Deerfield, and that the French prisoners should be sent 
home from thence." Governor Dudley ordered Colonel 
Partridge to collect the French captives at Deerfield. 

There must have been some excitement in the usually 
quiet town of Deerfield when it was known that the French 
captives were mustering there, especially when the dogged 
refusal of some to return to Canada was noised abroad. That 
Colonel Partridge met with some unexpected obstacles in 
dispatching the French captives is shown by the following 
extract from his letter to Governor Dudley : 

Hatfield, July i, 1712. 
"I begg yo"" Excellency's excuse & tender Resentment. Off our 
repeated demur & delay of moveing towards Canada by the Frentch- 
men & o'' Messengers, which is wholie by the indisposition of the 


Frentchmen, Especially two of them, who will not be p''suaded to 
go, neither by p''suasions nor force, except they be carried, viz, 
Cosset & Laffever. the Capt. hath used all means with them, es- 
pecially Cosset, in so much that 1 believe if they go into the woods 
together, they will murder one another before they get to Canada. 
Cosset positively refusing to go, Chuseing rather to Remayne a 
prison"" all his days, as he saith, rather than go with him. The 
Captaine vehemently mad with him, as he saith, will kill him & 
its thought by their violent treatm* one towards another, that mur- 
der had been done if o"" men had not p''vented itt. They cannot 

speak together but some fall to blows Laffever has been 

oposite of goeing all a Long & now it comes too positively op- 
poses it, except he be forct. Yesterday I went up to Deref^ c^^ two 
of the Frentchmen orderd him & the Frentchman to attend me in 
order to their goeing immediately away."' 

When it \va.s known that an escort was to be sent from 
Deerfield with the French captives, there was no lack of 
volunteers. Colonel Partridge continues: 

"As to Messengers, severall offer themselves to go We 

had pitcht upon Ltt. Williams, ^ with the consent of his ffather, who 
hath the Frentch tongue, Jonath Wells, Jno Nims &: Eliezer War- 
ner, but haveing in yo*" last letter a forbidd to any of Baker's Com- 
pany, we pitcht on Lt. Wells, Sergt. Taylor, John Nims & Thomas 
Frentch, who also hath the Frentch tongue, but think the former 
most apt 

I have had no small fategue in this matter, buty^ disappointment 
hath been on y'^ Frentchman's p' as aforesaid." 

On the above letter was the following endorsement : 
"Co'll Partridg : Honn'' Sir, I have all along been much against 
returning home : to Canada : but am now come to a Resolution 
that 1 will not go, except the Governor with yourself, doe compell 

'The adventures of Cosset and Le Fevre as well as those of Baptiste, will 
be narrated later. c. a. b. 

'Lieut. Samuel.Williams, a former captive. 


me to return ; which I hope you will not do ; I have an Affection 
for the people and Countery ; and therefore do not intend to lieue 
it untill there be a Peace ; and then only for to give my Parents a 
vissitt and Returne againe. from your humble serv't to command; 
this is La ffeveres words." 

The party under command of Lieut. Samuel Williams/ a 
youth of twenty-three, started from Deerfield on the loth of 
July, returning in September with nine English captives. 

Godfrey Nims had died some years before. Ebenezer was 
still in captivity and John Nims evidently went as the head 
of the family, hoping to effect the release of his brother and 
sister. I judge that in urging Abigail's return, John made 
the most of the provision for her in his father's will, as the 
story goes in Canada, that the relatives of the young Eliza- 
beth, who were Protestants, and were amply provided with 
this world's goods, knowing that she had been carried to 
the Sault au Recollet, went there and offered a con- 
siderable sum for her ransom ; and the savages would will- 
ingly have given her up, if she herself had shown any de- 
sire to go with her relatives. To her brother's entreaties 
that she would return with him she replied that she would 
rather be a poor captive among Catholics, than to become 
the rich heiress of a Protestant family,^ — and John came 
back without his sister and brother. About this time came 
Abigail's first communion. She walked up the aisle dressed 
in white, with a veil on her head, and all the people looked 
at her, and a bad Indian girl muttered, "Kanaskwa," [the 

ShoentakSanni, in his white surplice, swinging the censer, 
ringing the bell and holding up the priest's robe, seemed al- 

'Lieul. Samuel Williams was chosen Town Clerk in March, 1713, and died 
the following June. His headstone may be seen in the old burial ground at 

^The inventory of Godfrey Nims's estate shows that he was not a rich man. 


most as grand as a priest himself, and it was all very solemn 
and very beautiful to the child. That was the summer when 
Hannah Hurst of Deerfield was married. Marie Kaiennoni, 
she was called at the Mission. She was seventeen, and Mi- 
chel Anenharison, a widower of thirty-two. T8atog8ach 
heard them called in church. She wondered at Marie. Sho- 
entakSanni was ever so much nicer than Michel. I think 
Father Quere had his doubts about this match. He urged 
Marie to leave the Indians altogether, but she declared she 
wished to live and die among them. Sister des Anges heard 
her say this often. Father Quere asked Monsieur Belmont 
what he ought to do about marrying them, and Monsieur 
Belmont said she must be treated as if she were really an 
Indian girl.' Then Father Quere told Thomas Hurst and 
Father Meriel, and as they did not forbid the banns, he mar- 
ried them. 

A year passed. The treaty of Utrecht had been signed. 
Peace was proclaimed in London, and a grand Tc Dcum sung 
to Handel's music in St. Paul's Cathedral. In this interval 
of peace, renewed efforts were made by our government for 
the recovery of the English captives in Canada. Nothing 
daunted by the ill success of John Schuyler's mission, Captain 
John Stoddard and Parson Williams with Martin Kellogg 
and Thomas Baker as pilots and interpreters, and com- 
missioned by the government to negotiate for the release of 
the remaining captives, arrived in Canada the middle of Feb- 
ruary, 1714.^ 

It is a long and tedious business. De Vaudreuil is vacil- 
lating and contradictory in his promises. He shirks the 
responsibility alternately upon the captives who have been 
formally naturalized; upon his king whom he fears to offend; 

^"' l/ne Sauvagesse." 

"They started November, 1713, but were detained ten weeks in Albany till 
January, 1713-14, on account of warm weather and weak ice. 


upon the savages who claim the ownership of many and who 
he says are his allies, and not his subjects to command. 
Finally he says that he "can just as easily alter the course of 
the rivers, as prevent the priests' endeavors to keep the chil- 

The long sojourn of this embassy, its influence and digni- 
ty undoubtedly made a profound impression at the Sault au 
RecoUet mission. What more natural than that Abigail 
Nims's captor, knowing that the English envoys were insist- 
ing on the return of minors and children, and fearing to lose his 
reward if general terms of release were agreed upon, should 
have fled with his prize to the Boston government, to secure 
the money for her ransom before Stoddard's return. This 
he could have done without the knowledge or consent of 
Mission priest or nun. Moreover, had they known his 
purpose, they would have been powerless to prevent its ful- 

Whether this theory be correct or not it was before the re- 
turn of the envoys that Colonel Partridge on the 28th of 
July, 1 7 14, wrote to the Council at Boston, giving an ac- 
count of an "outrage in the country of Hampshire," a Mac- 
qua Indian, having brought to Westfield and offered for sale, 
a girl "supposed to be an English captive carried from Deer- 
field, it appearing so by her own relation and divers circum- 
stances concurring." The Council at once advised that Capt. 
John Sheldon, then living at Hartford, should be the bearer 
of a letter to the Indian commissioners at Albany, demand- 
ing a strict examination of this matter. The result of Capt. 
Sheldon's mission is told in the Council Record.^ 

"In Council Aug. 22, 1714. Upon reading a letter from the Com- 
missioners of the Indian affairs at Albany by Capt. John Sheldon, 

'She had not been bought by them from the savage — she was his by the 
law of war, to dispose of as he saw fit. 

^Mass. Archives. 


messenger thither, to make inquiries concerning a young Maid or 
Girle, brought thither into Westfield by a Macqua and offered for 
sale, very probably supposed to be English and daughter of one 
[Godfrey] Nims, late of Deerfield, and carried away captive, the 
Commissioners insisting upon it that she is an Indian: 

Ordered, that Samuel Partridge Esq. treat with the Macqua, her 
pretended Master, and agree with him on the reasonablest terms he 
can for her release and then dispose her to some good family near 
the sea side, without charge, for the present to prevent her fears; 
unless Capt. Sheldon will be prevailed with to take her home with him. 

Paid John Sheldon for journey to Boston, from Northampton and 
back to Albany and back with his son, 17^, i6s, 7d for time and 

In Council, Sept. 20, 1714. Ordered, that the sum of ^25. be 
paid to Elewacamb, the Albany Indian now attending with letters 
and papers from thence, who claims the English girl in the hands of 
the English and her Relations at Deerfield, and that a Warrant be 
made to the Treasurer accordingly. Also that a coat and shirt be 
given s'' Indian." 

"Here," says Mr. Sheldon in his History of Deerfield, "the 
curtain dropped. After this not the slightest trace of Abi- 
gail Nims was found." 

Had the story ended here, it would have been romantic 
enough ; but truth is stranger than fiction. 

An interval of eight months elapses, and the curtain rises 
again : 


Scene i. 

A marriage in the church of Notre Dame de Lorette, at the Sault an Recollei fort, 

on the Island of Montreal. 


Abigail Nims, aged fifteen. 

JosiAH Rising, aged about tiventy-four. 

SoEUR DES Anges,' and other nuns of the Congregation. 

PeRE Qu6Re, a Alission priest. 

Iroquois Indians. 

'Soeur des Anges was herself a captive. She was Marie Genevieve Say- 
ward of York, Me. 


The ceremony is soon ended. Father Quere records it on 
the parish register where it stands fair and clear to-day. 
Here is the translation : 

"This 29th July 17 15. I have married Ignace ShoentakSanni and 
Elizabeth T8atog8ach, both English, who wish to remain with the 
Christian Indians, not only renouncing their nation, but even wish- 
ing to live en sauvai^es, Ignace aged about twenty-three or twenty- 
four years,— Elizabeth about fifteen. Both were taken at Dierfile 
about thirteen years ago. [Signed] M. Quere, pretre S. S." 

How Abigail Nims got back again to the Sault au Recol- 
let from Deerfield, is the missing link in the story of her 
long life. But what more probable than that she should 
have run away. There is of course a shadow of doubt as to 
the identity of the captive bought of Elewacamb, with Abi- 
gail Nims. The girl had said she was a Deerfield captive : 
John Sheldon and Colonel Partridge believed her to be Abi- 
gail Nims, and had satisfied the governor and council that 
she was. They had bought her of Elewacamb, paid for her 
in lawful money and given him a bonus besides. It was not 
strange that the commissioners at Albany "insisted that she 
was an Indian." From her babyhood, for eleven years she 
had lived among the savages, and had become one. An or- 
phan, a stranger, not knowing or caring for her Deerfield 
relatives, bred a Roman Catholic and irked by the straight- 
laced customs of the Puritan town and church, hating the 
restraints of civilized life, homesick and unhappy, pining 
for the nuns and for her free life in the wigwam of Gan- 
astarsi, fearless and fleet of foot, she may have betaken her- 
self to the woods, and somehow got back to the Macqua fort. 

Fancy the joy at the Mission, when the stray lamb re- 
turned to the true fold. It was then, as I believe, that the 
priests, to settle the question forever, with much difficulty 
obtained the release of T8atog8ach and ShoentakSanni from 
their Indian masters. "They deserved this favor," says the 


historian,' "for the odor of virtue which they shed abroad 
over the mission of which they were the edification and the 
model." Their speedy marriage and the emphasis laid in 
the record upon their wish to conform to the Indian mode of 
life, was to protect them from future importunities for their 
return to New England. 

John Rising of Suffield died Dec. 11, 1719. In his will he 
bequeaths to his "well-beloved son Josiah, now in Captivity, 
the sum of five pounds in money to be paid out of my estate 
within three years after my decease, provided he return from 
captivity." Josiah Rising and Abigail Nims, his wife, never 
returned. When in 1721 the mission was transferred to the 
Lake of the Two Mountains, the priests, charmed with the 
edifying conduct of Ignace and Elizabeth, with their indus- 
try and intelligence in domestic affairs, for their advantage 
and as an example to the mission at large, resolved to estab- 
lish them in a permanent home of their own, and accordingly 
gave them a large domain about half a league from the fort. 

There, they served as a pattern to the vSavages and to all 
the people round about, of patriarchal life and virtue, by 
their care in training their children in the fear of God, and 
in the faithful performance of their religious duties. 

Abigail Nims, wife of Josiah Rising, died Feb, 19, 1748. In 
her last illness, she refused to leave off the hair shirt which 
she had always worn as penance. She left eight children, 
six daughters and two sons. Her eldest, Marie Madeleine, 
was a nun of the Congregation by the name of Sister Saint- 
Herman. Having learned in childhood the Iroquois language, 
she was sent as missionary to the Lake of the Two Moun- 
tains and there taught Indian girls for twenty-five years. 
When about ninety, she died in the convent at Montreal. 

Four of the daughters of Ignace and Elizabeth Raizenne, 
married and reared families, many of whose members filled 

'Abb6 Faillon. Vie de Marguerite Bourgeois 


high positions in the Roman Catholic church. I learn from 
one of the ladies of the Congregation, who was. the pupil of 
one of Abigail Nims's grand-daughters, that she has often 
heard from this teacher the story of her grandmother's life, 
and that she always laid particular stress on the fact that 
she refused to return to Deerfield when sent for. 

The eldest son of Ignace and Elizabeth was a priest and 
cure of excellent character and ability. Jean Baptiste Jerome, 
their younger son, unable to carry out his wish to take or- 
ders, married and settled on the domain originally granted 
to his father. His house was a refuge for the poor, the or- 
phan and the unfortunate. He regulated his household as if 
it were a religious community. The father and mother rose 
early and prayed together. Then both went to their respect- 
ive labor, he to his fields, — she to her ten children. The 
hours for study, for conversation, for silence and for recrea- 
tion were fixed by the clock. All the family, parents, chil- 
dren and servants, ate at the same table and while eating, 
the lives of the Saints were read. After tea the father ex- 
plained some doctrinal point to children and servants. Then 
followed prayers and all went silently to bed. 

Marie Raizenne, born in 1736, was the most distinguished 
of Abigail Nims's children. She entered the Community of 
the Congregation at the age of sixteen, and in 1778, under 
the name of Mother Saint-Ignace, attained the honor of be- 
ing its thirteenth Lady Superior. She was deeply religious, 
full of energy and courage, of extraordinary talents and fine 
education. vShe is said to have possessed in a remarkable 
degree, the real spirit and zeal of Marguerite Bourgeois, and 
to have sought untiringly to revive this spirit in the com- 
munity of which she was the head. She died at the age of 

Thus again did the blood of the mart3^rs of Deerfield 
become the seed of the church of Canada. 


General Hoyt in his "Antiquarian Researches," writes of 
the Deerfield captives, "Twenty-eight remained in Canada 
and mixing with the French and Indians and adopting their 
manners and customs, forgot their native country and were 
lost to their friends." The names of the twenty-eight who 
never came back follow. This list must now be corrected 
by adding to it the names of the Widow Hurst and her 
daughter Elizabeth, making thirty in all, and I doubt if the 
list is yet complete. We may congratulate ourselves to-day, 
on having found, within the last three years, eighteen of 
these exiles from home. Would that I could tell you these 
tales of the captives as they might be told; pathetic, full of 
incident, and glowing with romance as they are ; but I can 
only transcribe the bare facts of their lives as I find them 
clearly recorded on the parish records of many a picturesque 
Canadian village, where they lived, died, and lie buried in 
nameless graves. 

In the settlement of Deerfield, home lots were laid out and 
granted at Plum Tree Plain, now Wapping, as early as 1685. 
The little colony at Wapping consisted mostly of young 
men with their young families, nearly connected by blood 


or marriage. Thither came Thomas Hurst, freeman of Had- 
ley, with his wife Sarah.^ 

The people of Plum Tree Plain probably removed for 
safety to the town street, where Thomas Hurst died in 1702, 
leaving a family of six children. Among the captives of the 
29th of February, 1704, were Widow Sarah Hurst, then about 
thirty-eight years old, and her children. The youngest was 
killed on the march. On their arrival in Canada the family 
was separated, some remaining in Montreal, Thomas and 
Hannah being sent, with several other Deeriield children, 
to the mission at the Sault au Recollet or Lorette, on the 
Riviere des Prairies, on the other side of the island of Mon- 
treal.2 The only one of Thomas Hurst's family who ever 
came back to New England was Sara, the eldest child. 

With nothing to guide me, groping laboriously through 
pages of old French manuscript in the archives of Quebec, 
in the portfolios of ancient notaries of Montreal, dead and 
turned to dust a century and a half ago, in the parish rec- 
ords of both cities, finding here a little and there a little, 
and putting the disjointed fragments together, I had nearly 
succeeded in rehabilitating the Hurst family of six Deer- 
field captives, when 1 saw that for further knowledge of 
Thomas and Hannah, I must seek the records of the Oso 
fort. These were to be found at Oka, the Indian name for 
the village of the Lake of the Two Mountains on the Ottawa 
river, whither in 1720 the Sault au Recollet mission had 
been removed. By early morning train to La Chine^ where 
one drops perforce from the 19th to the early 17th century. 
Here, before 161 5, the most important trading post of New 

'Their homestead was a part of the lot now owned and occupied by Josiah 

^"The Oso Fort," it is called in the narratives of New England captives. 

^'La Chine was the Seigniory of La Salle: China, byway of the great river 
and the West, being his goal. 


France was set up by Champlain ; and here, to-day, in good 
preservation, stand the great cobble-stone chimney and oven 
of Champlain's post, with the broad fireplace, by which Rob- 
ert de La vSalle later sheltered himself until he had built his 
palisaded village, a mile to the west, on the land granted 
him by the gentlemen of the Seminary of Saint Sulpice. 
Opposite me, across Lake Saint Louis, as I stood in the 
ruined doorway of La Salle's homestead, where he must so 
often have stood looking longingly westward, were the 
crumbling ruins of the Mohawk fort, where Eunice Williams 
and other Deerfield children sobbed out the first months of 
their captivity, and the low roofs of Caughnawaga, the 
cross gleaming from its picturesque steeple. Was it the 
wail of the Deerfield bell, a captive still, that floated faintly 
above the sullen murmur of the rapids? Who knows? 
Swan-like our boat glides on to Saint Anne, Bout de I'lsle, 
Tom Moore's Saint Anne, the house where he wrote his 
Canadian boat-song, in full view from our steamer. As we 
round the end of the island, at our right loom up the vine- 
covered towers of the ruined chateau de Senneville, the 
seigniorial mansion of Jacques Le Ber, "a Canadian feudal 
castle of the 17th century." While in captivity Samuel Wil- 
liams, the son of the Deerfield minister, lived with Jacques 
Le Ber, a rich merchant of Montreal, whose chateau was 
then in process of building. Back from the river, on a hill, 
stands the old stone mill of the seignory, not unlike that at 
Newport, R. L, but more imposing, from its solitary and com- 
manding position. A little to the northwest of the chateau, 
"Ottawa's tide" expands into the Lake of the Two Mountains, 
beyond which the twin mountains form the background of 
this beautiful picture. Nestling at their base and following 
the curve of the lake shore, is the Cote, or village of Oka, 
as the Mission of the Lac des Deux Montagnes is now called. 
On a finely wooded point, formed by the double curving 


e was set \ip bv l^hani ind here, to-day, in good 

stone chimney and oven 

'^*-'"' ^'je, by which Rob- 

1 ht2 had built his 

•st, on the land granted 

' ;r.inary of Saint Sulpice. 

• lit Louis, as ! stood in the 

■ omestead, where he must so 

■•T.{ly westward, were the 

> where Eunice 'Ain^ams 

lit the first moi: 

nnawaga, li.. 
Was it the 
1 »ated faintly 

; ri inUiiilU. 'uir. VVho k: 

"- ,,....■... .v^at glides CCHAMPLAIN'S.TRAD'lMI?-'IK)sF>'>Vt' LA fcHINE 

Mo<^re's Saint Anne, lateij occupied by robert caveher de ia salle 
ag, in full view ir 

. the is-.- -^ ' •' ' ■ ... ^ 

"f th«" . .^ville, the 

seigr Canadian feudal 

c ■ : v'ity vSamuel Wil- 

1- ed with Jacques 

real, whose chdteau was 
uk irom the ri 
... seignory, not 
>osing, from it>- com- 

to the r : . ric chateau. 

; Lo tht' T „• . . vv o Mountains, 

nd which t^ 

mount; ,) the background of 

: 'Cautiful p- 

.r base and following 

iirve of tl: 

...V - . cC, or village of Oka, 

e Mission <.■ 

■ux Montagnes is now called. 

It a finely wooded p<jint, formed by the double curving 

A DAY AT OKA. 253 

of the shore, the site of the ancient Iroquois fort, are the 
mission buildings, the church and the presbytery or priest's 
house. The convent stands where it stood in 1720, but the 
comfortless birch bark cabin, then occupied by Soeur des 
Anges, and her companion, the two devoted nuns of the 
Congregation, who gathered here their school of Indian 
girls, has given place to a modern gray stone building. 
Here another Sister des Anges, with two assistants, still 
teaches the little Indian girls their catechism. To her I 
was introduced by a letter from a nun of the mother house 
of the Congregation, of Montreal, whose friendship is very 
precious to me. Being herself the descendant of a New- 
England captive, she takes the warmest interest in my work, 
and does everything in her power to help me. We were 
cordially received by the Lady Superior, who would not hear 
of our going to the inn, but gave us a room in the convent. 
The Sault au Recollet mission was the Canadian home of 
the two captives, Abigail Nims and Josiah Rising. There 
they went to school, there they were married ; and that their 
virtues and their piety might be an example to the neigh- 
borhood, they were granted by the priests a large domain 
at the Lake of the Two Mountains, about a half a league from 
the fort. 

"There are farms in Canada," says Mr. Parkman, "which 
have passed from father to son for two hundred years." The 
estate given to Ignace Raizenne, by the gentlemen of the 
Seminary in 1720, having passed from father to son for one 
hundred and seventy years, is now owned and occupied by 
Jean Baptiste Raizenne, great-great-grandson of Josiah Ris- 
ing and Abigail Nims. I therefore left word with the shop- 
keeper of Oka, that if Mr. Raizenne should come into the 
village that day, he was to be told that a lady who could tell 
him about his New England ancestry was at the convent and 
would like to see him. In half an hour he appeared, and I 


am sure that I shall never again be treated with such dis- 
tinction or welcomed with such frank hospitality as I was by 
that simple Canadian habitant, of which class he is a fine 

A face of strong character, mobile in expression, with 
piercing black eyes; quick of apprehension, alert in manner, 
rapid in speech and gesture, with a lithe, agile and nervous 
frame. Naive, unconscious and enthusiatic, he showed the 
greatest delight in meeting one who came from the home of 
his remote ancestry, of whom he is very proud. 

We gladly yielded to his desire that we should go with 
him to visit his ''proprictc^ First, however, to the records. 
After dinner I presented myself at the Presbytery. 

With the Apostle to the Indians at Oka, I had had an in- 
teresting correspondence, yet I had not been able to decipher 
his name, and had I known that he is a savant, considered 
the best living authority on the Iroquois language, I should 
hardly have presumed to make such demands as I have, upon 
his time and patience. This venerable father is as modest, 
kindly and simple as he is learned, and I owe him much. 
The greatest are always the simplest. Great poems, great 
pictures, great music, and great men. 

The most careful reader of the mission records in Canada, 
finds, at the outset, an impenetrable veil shrouding their pre- 
cious secrets, in the fact that the captives on arriving at the 
mission with their savage captors, were adopted into Indian 
families, receiving Indian surnames. Added to this, at their 
baptism by the mission priests, in nine cases out of ten, the 
names of their French sponsors, or of the saints of the Catho- 
lic church, are substituted for the Christian names o-iven to 
them at their baptism in New England. It is only by the 
most persistent pursuit of isolated facts, hints, dates and 
names, through register after register, collating, and compar- 
ing them, that one finally evolves the stories of the captives. 

A DAY AT OKA. 255 

These records are like the photographer's negative. They 
require patient and skilful manipulation and developing. 
At first all is a blank, a haze. By straining a little in one 
part, restraining a little in another, the picture begins to 
come, and when it does come, its contrasts of light and shade 
surprise and thrill one. The photographic distinctness of 
every detail of these lives, which, hidden from sight for 
nearly two centuries, are now suddenly revealed almost takes 
one's breath away. For example, when I first struck the 
trail of Abigail Nims, she was baptized as Elizabeth in Mon- 
treal and was said to be "living in the cabin of a squaw of 
the mountain." Of the Mission of the mountain, and its suc- 
cessive transference to the Sault au RecoUet and to the 
Lake of the Two Mountains I then knew nothing. As I 
chased her from record to record, the little Elizabeth flitted 
before me like an elf, appearing as Elizabeth Stebin, Eliza- 
beth Kanaskwa, Elizabeth Sahiak, Elizabeth T8atog8ach. 
When I finally ran her down as Elizabeth Nairn, married to 
a fellow-captive, Ignace Raizenne, I had no difficulty in recog- 
nizing the two little playmates who were living opposite each 
other in Deerfield on the morning of Feb. 29, 1704. My first 
clue to the Deerfield Hursts at Oka, on the Sault au Recollet 
records, was the birth of a son to Michel Anenharison and 
Marie Kawennaenni. This Marie I found to be Hannah 
Hurst. Doubtless her descendants still live at Oka. 

At four o'clock, Jean Baptiste Raizenne drove to the con- 
vent gate. We clambered over the great wheels, into the 
habitanfs cart, a revised edition of our dump cart, and tak- 
ing his little daughter Guilhelmine between us, we set out 
for the old homestead of Abigail Nims and Josiah Riseing. 
Though it was October, the sun was warm, and the sky and 
river a summer blue. Leaving the village, our road lay over 
high sand dunes, the relic of some old sea beach of the an- 
cient continent. To stay these shifting sands, which are 


alike an ornament and a protection to tlie village, the Cure 
an intelligent and agreeable man, has planted on their slopes 
this year forty thousand young pine trees. 

As we ploughed through these great drifts up and down, 
there was no sound but that of the sand sifting through our 
wheels and the sad murmur of the pines. At the foot of a tall 
black cross, planted in the yellow expanse of the plateau, an 
oasis in the desert, as it were, knelt a group of pilgrims on 
their way to the mountain chapel of Calvary. 

As we struck into the primeval forest Jean Baptiste began 
to chatter with the volubility of a Frenchman. " Void la pro- 
priete tin paiivrc Ignacd^' "This is the estate of poor Ignace," 
he cried. "This road the captive made with his own hands." 
When we came in sight of the house, his excitement was in- 
tense. ''Marchc, done vitc!'' "Go on quick!" he shouted to 
his horse, and to me, " Voila la vieillc niaison, la niaison d' Ig- 
nace! oh, que je Vaimc!'' "There is the old house, Ignace's 
house! oh, how I love it!" And it was ''voila' this, and 
"^'^//^"•that, and finally, " Voila. le bebdf as the little toddling 
thing met us at the kitchen door, and here we were under 
the very roof-tree of the two captives. 

I shall not attempt to describe my feelings. I was dazed 
and overwhelmed with memories of the far-off past. Mr. 
Raizenne's pretty wife and old mother received us without 
embarassment, and urged us to prolong our visit. We drank 
to the memory of the captives, and to the health and pros- 
perity of their descendants, in wine made from vines origi- 
nally planted by Ignace. We tasted water from his well; we 
ate apples from the sole survivor of his orchard. The cli- 
max of the afternoon's enjoyment for Jean Baptiste was 
reached when he presented to us his only son, a chubby boy 
of nine, named Riseing Raizenne. After taking a photo- 
graph of the place, and leaving little Guilhelmine in tears at 
our departure, we drove back to the village. 


'HAawapjao sidHT ■re aa." 


-< 1 V ' r. 1 r. > 1 'J' i\ 1'. \v 

,SI;lw\iNij LAl'llVt.>. 

alike an ornament and a 
an intt' 
this yt:. 
As V 

ion to the village, the Cure 
has planted on their slope^s 

,ne trees. 

- great drifts up and down, 
•le sand sifting through our 

pines. x\t the foot of a tall 
V expanse of the plateau, an 

;ilt a group of pilgrims on 

f Ca1 

Haptiste began 
J'^otct la ,^'"o- 




to 1; 
perity ' 
nally p' 
ate ap^ 
max ot 
reached wi, 
of nine, n. 
graph of t! 
our depart; 

.1 the kitch we were iinde^r 

'ce of the tv 
wt attempt to dt;-i . '.v<_ miv .^ .mq^.-.. \ \>.i,> lui/.t-^i 
helmed with memories of the far-off past. Mr 
pretty wife and old mother received us withciiti 

and urged 
' of the cai' 
lescendants, in 
■..•■•. We 
'e sur\ > 

olong (.' "' We drank 

^ t'^ t! 1 and tttom 

from vint 

T from his >v^a, we 

orchard. The cli- 

Jean Baptiste was 

son, a chubby bo}^ 

...Ler taking a photo- 

/uilhelmine in tears at 

A DAY AT OKA. 257 

The peace and quiet of the convent were grateful after 
the exciting emotions of the afternoon. We begged Mother 
des Anges not to condemn us to another solitary meal, and 
after some hesitation, she kindly allowed us to take our tea 
with the nuns. Loyalty to our hostess forbids me to dwell 
on the spiritual and material delights of that repast. 

In New England, the sunset hour is usually marked by an 
outburst of noise from the youth of the village. Not so at 
Oka. The whole place shows the sobering, orderly influence 
of the little Christian community in its midst. We sat on 
the doorsteps of the convent talking low with the Sisters. 
The soft air was redolent with the odors of heliotrope and 
mignonette from the garden below us. The river, still as the 
face of a mirror, reflected the splendor of the afterglow. Un- 
der the Lombardy poplars in the presbytery grounds, the 
aged mission priest walked slowly up and down, reading his 
breviary. Now and then, a blanketed figure stole silently 
past, on her way to say her evening prayer in the church. 
One by one the stars came out and the gleam of a brilliant 
planet left a silvery wake upon the water. The stillness of 
the midsummer night was broken only by the leaping of the 
fish at some swiftly skimming insect, the subdued voices of 
the Indian boys, and the sound of their paddles, as they 
glided by in their canoes. 

The peaceful beauty of the whole scene ; the absolute 
quiet of the village; the convent with its atmosphere of calm 
content; the serenity and repose of the low voiced nuns; the 
tranquillity of nature, — all conspired to make the hour a 
dream of Heaven. 

But all things must have an end, and so this memorable 
day at Oka. We went over in the morning to say farewell 
to the reverend father and the cure, and as the presbytery 
was undergoing repairs and the grounds were necessarily 
open, they kindly gave us leave to stroll under the magnifi- 


cent trees. As we stood with them for a moment under the 
cross, beneath which is a cannon, on the extreme point of 
their land, I rallied the cure on the incongruity of a cannon 
in the domain of apostles of the Prince of Peace. "It is to 
shoot Pagans" he replied quickly. "vSince that is its' use," 
said my companion, "It is lucky for us that we are on this 
side of it." "But mademoiselle," he answered with ready 
wit, "we do not shoot heretics, we pray for them." And so 
we said good-bye. 


John Stebbins, son of John of Northampton, and grand- 
son of Rowland Stebbins, founder of the family in America, 
was one of the earliest inhabitants of Deerfield, Mass., at its 
permanent settlement. He was a carpenter by trade ; a sol- 
dier under Capt. Lothrop, through Philip's war, and, accord- 
ing to Mr. Sheldon, "the only man known to have come out 
whole from the massacre at Bloody Brook." His homestead 
in Deerfield was that known to the present generation as 
David Sheldon's. In the assault of Feb. 29, 1703-4, his house 
was burned, and he and his wife with their six children, 
ranging in age rfrom five to nineteen, were carried captives 
to Canada, whence the father, mother and eldest child re- 
turned to Deerfield. 

How Abigail, the girlish bride of Jacques de Noyon, — one 
of three Canadian bush-rangers unaccountably living in 
Deerfield at the time of the attack, — thus doubly a captive, 
went with him to his boyhood's home in Boucherville ; how 
later, she sent her eldest child, Rene, a lad of ten, with a 
hunting party of French and Indians, to visit his grand- 
parents in Deerfield ; how, on the return of the hunters, 


Rene stayed behind, and grew up there as Aaron Denio, in- 
heriting his mother's share of his grandfather's estate ; how- 
Abigail, his mother, after her father's death, probably ac- 
companied by her brother Samnel, returned to keep the 
twenty-second anniversary of her marriage and her capture, 
with her widowed mother ; how. though Deerfield records 
are silent concerning the interesting event, the parish priest 
of Boucherville, records the baptism there,^ of Marie Anne, 
her thirteenth child. All this is a twice told tale, and ro- 
mantic enough to bear twice telling. 

The following is a literal translation from the records at 
Boucherville, of the baptism of the little Marie Anne : 

"On the 5th of November 1726. M. Meriel, Seminary Priest of 
Ville-Marie, in the presence of me the undersigned priest, curt' oi 
Boucherville, has baptized in the parish church of Sainte-Famille at 
Boucherville, Marie Anne, daughter of Jacques Denoyons and Ga- 
brielle Stebben married and living at Boucherville, who was born 
on the 27th of February of the same year at Guerfil in New Eng- 
land. The godfather was Pierre Arrivee the godmother 

Gabrielle Denoyons wife of Nicolas Binet and sister of the infant, 
[Signed] Meriel Pretre. 

R. de la Saudraye, 

Cure de Boucherville." 

Samuel Stebbins probably remained in Deerfield. His 
name does not appear in Canada. Of his young brother 
Ebenezer, nothing has been found later than his baptism in 
Boucherville as Jacques Charles. 

In General Hoyt's Antiquarian Researches we read that 
"A gentleman who recently resided in Montreal, stated that 
at the Lake of the Two Mountains, near the mouth of Grand 

'This record shows that Abigail Stebbins de Noyon was doubtless in Deer- 
field on the twenty-second anniversary of her marriage there, and that the little 
Marie Anne was born there two days before the twenty-second anniversary of 
the massacre. 


River, he saw a French girl, who informed him that her 
grandmother was Thankful Stebbing, who was one of the 
captives taken from Deerfield in 1704." 

Since the day of her capture we have had till now only 
this echo faintly sounding through the ages. 

One October day, I had lingered long over the portrait of 
Bishop Plessis, in the sacristy of the parish church of Saint- 
Rochs, a suburb of Quebec. The sunset gun boomed from 
the citadel. Broad-hatted peasant women chattered noisily, 
as late from market they bumped along homeward in their 
quaint little carts. I was hurrying up the steep zigzags to 
the upper town, when I saw in a tailor's window, a pile of 
old pamphlets. Hoping to find among them some printed 
memorial of Plessis, I entered. "You are then a bibliophile?" 
was the eager question of the handsome young tailor in an- 
swer to my enquiry. Without waiting for my answer, he 
urged me to visit his private library, and I followed him to 
his dwelling above the shop, and was ushered into a long 
narrow room, with bare floor and no furniture but a common 
table and two wooden chairs. The back of the kitchen 
stove protruded through the wall at one end, the usual ar- 
rangement for heating two rooms in Canadian houses. At 
the opposite end a large window. The two long sides of the 
room, literally lined with the rarest books in choice editions, 
and elegant bindings. The pride of the young shopman in 
his books, and his delight at my surprise, were interesting. 
He flew from drawer to drawer, pulling out here a rare en- 
graving, there an autograph. Finally he tossed me a ragged 
scrap of discolored paper. "What is it?" I asked. "Oh, 
nothing much, — autographs," he said laconically. "Vaudreuil 
and Raudot, Governor-General and Intendant of Canada." 
The names were suggestive. The paper, dated Quebec, Oct. 
30, 1 706, proved to be the petition of certain English and Dutch 
in Canada for naturalization. I ran my eye down the list : 


Louis Marie Strafton, Mathias Claude Farnet, 

Pierre Augustin Litrefield, Madeline Ouarem, 

Christine Otesse, Thomas Hust, 

Elizabet Price, Marie Frangoise French, 

Elizabeth Casse, Therese Steben. 

How many desolate homes these names recalled. Too 
well I knew them all, disguised as they were by their French 

Amended the list would read : 
Charles Trafton of York, Me. 
Matthew Farnsworth of Groton, Mass. 
Aaron Littlefield of Wells, Maine. 
Grizel Warren and Margaret Otis, wife and child of Richard Otis, 

blacksmith, of Dover, N. H. 
Thomas Hurst, Elizabeth Price, 

Freedom French, Elizabeth Corse, 

Thankful Stebbins. 

All of Deerf^eld. 

Fancy these New England boys and girls, baby Otis and 
the rest of them, wrecked on a foreign strand by the storms 
of war, beseeching his Majesty, the High and Mighty Louis 
XIV, to be graciotisly pleased to grant them citizenship, 
declaring that they have established themselves in His col- 
ony of Canada, and that they wish to live and die in the 
Holy Roman Catholic faith. Much excited by my discovery, 
I sat there in the twilight and told the story of these captives 
to the little French tailor. 

This was my first introduction to Thankful vStebbins, citi- 
zen of Canada, robbed of her Puritan name, member of the 
Apostolic church in good standing. 

A year elapsed. I found her next at Boucherville in 1708, 
Therese already, and godmother to one of her sister Abigail's 
children. The record of her baptism not there, nor yet her 
marriage; neither at Boucherville, nor at Montreal, nor at 


Quebec. Yet Therese she was, and a grandmother she was to 
be, (according to General Hoyt,) before my quest could cease. 

On the parish register of Longueuil, the old Seigniory of 
Charles LeMoyne, stands the following: 

February 4th, 17 11, After the publication of the usual banns 
made at the mass in the church of La Sainte-Famille at Boucher- 
ville, on the 25th of January and the ist and 2nd of February, to 
which no legal impediment has been found, I the undersigned, 
priest, cure of Boucherville, have married in the aforesaid parish 
church of Boucherville, Adrien grain, called La Vallee, inhabitant of 
chambly, aged 23 years, son of the deceased Charles le grain, and 
louyse la fortune living, inhabitant of Chambly to Therese louyse 
Stebens, aged 21 years, ^ daughter of John Stebens and Dorothy Alex- 
ander his wife, inhabitants of the village of Guiervil in New England, 
and have given them the nuptial benediction in presence of Joseph 
Maillot, cousin of the groom, of Sieur Jacques de Noyon, brother-in 
law of the bride, and others. 

Thus at last Thankful Stebbins of Deerfield, our little pe- 
titioner for citizenship, having obtained her naturalization 
papers in 17 10, under her new name of Therese Louise did 
"establish herself in His Majesty's colony of Canada," as the 
wife of Adrian le Grain, nicknamed La Vallee, habitant sol- 
dier of Chambly. 

In my rambles among the records, there have been many 
red letter days, notably that at Chambly, in search of Thank- 
ful Stebbins, wife of Adrian Le Grain, bride in her 19th 
year and grandmother to be. 

In the time schedules of suburban service on Canadian 
railways, the interest of the tourist is neglected. Properly 
enough, trains are run for the accommodation of the rustics, 
who must be in the city at early morn and out in the late 
afternoon. This prevents the student from looking up the 
parish records, even if he or she were bold enough to face 

^Her actual age was nineteen. 


the possibilities of a night in a Canadian village inn. How- 
ever, the will makes the way, and one who is not too nice, 
may avail himself of a mixed train, heavy freight with a 
comfortless caboose attached, and crawl to his destination at 
the rate of six miles an hour, subject to tiresome waits at 
intervening stations. 

However we go from village to village, up and down the 
noble river, we can never forget that we are treading the 
path once trodden by our footsore and sorrowing kinsfolk, 
listening to the same accents, that fell so strangely on the 
ears of the forlorn and homesick captives. 

In 1665, the Marquis de Tracy arrived in Quebec as Lieu- 
tenant-General of Canada. The famous Carignan regiment 
had been given him by the king with orders to subdue or 
destroy the Iroquois. "The Mohawks and Oneidas were 
persistently hostile, making inroads into the colony by way 
of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu, murdering and scalp- 
ing and then vanishing like ghosts." 

Tracy immediately built a picket fort at the foot of the 
rapids of the Richelieu. Sorel, an officer of the Carignan, 
later built a second fort at the mouth of the river, where now 
is the town of Sorel ; and Salieres, "colonel of the regiment, 
added a third fort two or three leagues above that at the 
rapids." No fort, however, could "bar the passage against 
the nimble and wily warriors who might pass them in the 
night, shouldering their canoes through the woods," and 
Tracy prepared to march in person against the Mohawks 
with all the force of Canada. This expedition against 
the Mohawks is the subject of one of Mr. Parkman's fin- 
est pictures, and, says that author,^ "was of all the French 
expeditions against the Iroquois the most productive of good." 
Tracy's work being done, four companies of the splendid reg- 

'Parkman. Old Regime. 


iment were left in garrison, and the Marquis with the rest 
of "the glittering noblesse in his train," went back to France. 
Many of the officers, however, weary of their life in the cor- 
rupt French court, and stimulated by promises and money 
from the king, who had the peopling of the colony much at 
heart, remained to marry and settle in Canada. 

The lands along the Richelieu were allotted in large seign- 
iorial grants among these officers, who in turn granted out 
the land to their soldiers. "The officer thus became a kind 
of feudal chief, and the whole settlement a permanent mili- 
tary cantonment." "The disbanded soldier was prac- 
tically a soldier still, but he was also a farmer and a land- 
holder."^ Tracy's picketed fort below the rapids of the 
Richelieu, then known as Fort Pontchartrain, with the land 
adjacent, was awarded to Captain de Chambly. After his 
death the seigniory of Chambly passed to Marie de Thauven- 
et, his betrothed or his sister-in-law,"^ through whom her hus- 
band, Francois Hertel "The Hero," father of Hertel de Rou- 
ville, became its owner, being known thereafter as Hertel de 

From that day to this, Chambly has been closely connect- 
ed with our history. The fort was the point of departure 
and arrival for most of the expeditions against New Eng- 
land. Hardly a New England captive but was at some time 
sheltered within its walls. 

On Saturday, probably March 25, 1704, Parson Williams'^ of 
Deerfield says : 

"We arrived near nuun at Shamblee, a small village where is a 
garrison and fort of French soldiers. This village is about fifteen 
miles from Montreal. The French were very kind to me. A gen- 
tleman of the place took me into his house and to his table, and 

'Parkman. Old Regime. 

^Authorities differ on this point. 

^Redeemed Captive. Sixth Edition, MDCCC, p. 31. 


lodged me at night on a good feather bed. The Inhabitants and 
ofificers were very obliging to me the little time I stayed with them, 
and promised to write a letter to the governor in chief, to inform 
him of my passing down the river. Here I saw a girl taken from 
our town, and a young man, who informed me that the greater part 
of the captives were come in, and that two of my children were at 

Many of the Deerfield captives had reached Chambly 
three weeks before Mr. Williams's arrival. His son Stephen 
did not arrive there till the next August. There the 
French were kind to him. They gave him bread, which he 
had not tasted before vsince his capture, and dressed his 
wounded feet ; — and later, Hertel de Chambly tried to buy 
him from his savage master. Quentin Stockwell stayed four 
days at Chambly, and was kindly treated by the French, who 
gave him hasty pudding and milk with brandy, and bathed 
his frozen limbs with cold water. One young Frenchman 
gave the poor sufferer his own bed to lie on, tried to buy 
him, and went with him to Sorel, to protect him from abuse 
by the Indians. 

Chambly was a village of but ten houses when Ben Waite 
and Stephen Jennings htirried through it, in agonizing search 
for their beloved ones, whom they found in the Indian lodg- 
es not far away. 

I will not attempt to describe my feelings, as I walked 
alone through the village of Chambly on iny wa}'- to the 
priest's. Aside from its associations, Chambly has a beaut}^ 
of its own. A long line of Lombardy poplars defines the 
cote of Chambly, which with its low, red roofs and broadly 
overhanging eaves, goes straggling along the bend of the 
swift-flowing river. Opposite, two picturesque mountains, 
then gorgeous in their autumnal colors, complete the circle 
formed by the lake-like expanse, called Chambly Basin. 


Half way round, the circle is broken by the river, which 
comes roaring and tumbling down, in a series of rapids, at 
the foot of which the ruins of the fort which in 171 1 suc- 
ceeded Tracy's palisade, advance boldly into the current. 

The C2irc received me with a kindness which seems from 
the days of the captivity to have become habitual to the 
place, and I was soon absorbed in the records. 

They begin in 1706, and on one of the first pages stands 
the baptism of Thankful Stebbins. The spelling and the 
grammar of the original would puzzle a schoolgirl of to-day. 
The following is a literal translation : 

"This 23d of April 1707 I, Pierre Dublaron ofificiating in the parish 
of Chambly, certify that I have administered the rite of baptism to 
Louise Therese Steben, English girl and baptized in England, (sic) 
Her godfather and godmother were Monsieur Hertel, Seignieur de 
Chambly and Madame de Perygny, wife of the commandant of the 
fort of Chambly." 

[Signed] Hertel de Chambly, Louise de Perygny. 

As we have already seen, it was in February, 171 1, that 
Thankful or Therese Louise Stebbins was married in the 
parish church of Boucherville to Adrian le Grain. In March, 
17 1 3, her first child Frangoise Therese was baptized at 
Chambly. The child's godparents were Hertel de Beaulac 
and Therese, wife of Hertel de Niverville. In due succes- 
sion follow William, Marie Jeanne, Marie, Charlotte, Isabelle, 
Antoine and Marie Therese. On the 4th of July, 1729, Ver- 
onique, the ninth and last child of Adrian le Grain and Louise 
Therese Stebbins, was born and baptized. Two children of 
Abigail Stebbins de Noyon^ stood by their little cousin at 
her baptismi, and just a week after followed Thankful Steb- 

'Baptiste de Noyon and his married sister Marie-Gabrieile de Noyon, wife 
of Nicolas Binet. 


bins to her last resting place on earth. She was only thirty- 
eight years old when the end came.^ 

My labors for her were finished. Listlessly turning the 
leaves of the register, I found the marriage of her brother, 
Joseph Stebbins, and learned from the cure that there are 
still in his parish descendants of Joseph, possibly also of 
Thankful. Fifty minutes to train time. Too little to prove 
my kinship to my new found cousins, if found. Enough 
perhaps to give me a nearer view of the old fort. Could I 
reach it ? Father Le Sage, glancing at the muddy road, at 
me, impeded by my weight, and my long skirts, prudently an- 
swers, "I have done it in twenty minutes." 

The cassock notwithstanding, thought I, and bade him a 
hasty adieu. The little children stared and the little dogs 
barked, as I flew through the town. Nor stopped I, nor 
stayed I. till trying a short cut to the fort, I crossed a swol- 
len creek, on a shaky plank, and brought up breathless at a 
high picket fence, painted black and bearing the date 1707. 

By a special Providence my steps had been led to the an- 
cient burying ground of the Seigniory. Wading through the 
wiry, brown grass, plunging into pitfalls, caught among the 
brambles and stumbling over hummocks and half buried 
fragments of old head-stones, I ran about the place. Would 
the grave give up its dead? Should I find here any of the 
lost ones of Deerfield? 

No answer came to my eager question. Time and the an- 
nual overflow of the turbulent river, have levelled all the 
mounds. Here and there, a deeply furrowed slab of weath- 
ered oak, in form and color like the slates of our own old 
burying ground, totters to its fall, not a jot of its legend re- 
maining. Two gaunt wooden crosses, lately reared by the 

'The death of Thankful Stebbins is thus briefly recorded immediately after 
the baptism of her child : "The burial of the wife of Charles le grain, July ii, 

3133J8 amaa3T8 ju^>imaht assHw omuoi 


bins to Vn 1. vShe was only thirtv- 


'' -itiessly turning the 

iage of her brother, 

ci/rt^ that there are 

;H)ssibly also of 

li'tle to prove 


Could I 



'1 to Lil. 

----.. throng 1. . -- 

caught among the 
ui .anmo».k.s and half buried 

fn.^..... .i. . . .„. v.. ............. ,an;iibonf ^-i'^ •■.h.^.^.■ \v.. .-.-■ 

the grave give ap its dead' Should I 

lost ones of I ' 

V.v ..... ,,....,- 

mounds. He iiere, u ib of weath- 

ered oak, in, \<>iu, ; ,; our own old 

burying ground, i' ' . f its legend re- 

maining. Two gaunt. wooden crOvSses, lately reared by the 

s thus briefly recorded immediately after 
. of tl»e wife of Charles le LTaiii. Talv ii 


reverent hand of the village antiquary/ to whose zeal we owe 
also the preservation of the ruins of the fort, recall some noted 
names of the old Regime. Here lies Marie de Thauvenet, the 
fair devotee, who came with Mother Mary of the Incarnation 
to dedicate herself to the education of the Indian girls of 

Turned from her purpose by the fascinations of a hand- 
some young captain in the Carignan regiment, she became 
his betrothed. Bereft of her lover by death, so runs the tale, 
and inheriting his fortune, she became the lady of Chambly, 
which with her hand, she bestowed upon the hero, Francois 
Hertel. Her romantic life ended here in 1708. 

The other cross commemorates the death in 1740, of the 
wife of their son, Hertel de Beaulac. 

Three or four small tablets of wood affixed above high 
water mark, to the fence posts of the enclosure, bear the 
names and date of death of French soldiers. 

What gracious impulse had led the same kind hand to 
write there this name and date, unknown to fame: 

Therese Steben. 

So I came to the last page of the story. Back and forth 
the shuttle flying had carried the thread weaving the web 
of her life. Deerfield to Chambly, Chambly to Boucherville 
and back again to Chambly. Warp and woof, in texture 
firm and colors bright and clear, — a tale so plain that the 
dullest might have followed it. 

Carried in her thirteenth year by Hertel de Rouville, or 
one of his three young brothers, who marched with him to 
Deerfield, to the fort at Chambly in the vSeigniory of their 
father, Thankful Stebbins was given in charge to one of 
the ladies of the Hertel family, and probably domiciled in the 
Hertel mansion. 

'Mr. J. F. Dion. 


The seigniory was well stocked with sheep and cattle and 
the house was a good one. It brings us very near to the Old 
Regime in Canada, to remember that Frangois Hertel the 
Hero, and Marie de Thauvenet, his wife, must have talked 
with the child and questioned her about her home and peo- 
ple. Unable to comprehend or pronounce her outlandish 
name, the family of the Seignior, perhaps induced by the 
similarity of the initial letters, called her Therese, after the 
wife of Hertel de Niverville. Becoming fond of the child, 
wishing to keep her in Canada and conscientiously believing 
that her salvation depended on her becoming a good Catho- 
lic, they put her name on the list of petitioners for natural- 
ization in 1706. 

The next year. Father Dublaron baptized her in the chap- 
el of the fort, her godfather being either the Hero himself, 
or his son. Her godmother, Louise de Perygn3% wife of the 
commandant of the fort, added her own name to that b)'- 
which the girl was already well known in the neighborhood. 
We may fancy the feelings of the maiden of sixteen on that 
summer day of the same year, when she saw Mr. Sheldon, 
Nathaniel Brooks and Edward Allen of Deerfield, with sev- 
en more redeemed captives, escorted by young Hertel de 
Chambly and five French soldiers, set out from the fort for 
home. Standing on the very spot nearly two centuries 
later, I seemed to hear the plaintive voice of the girl plead- 
ing with the Captain, (Hertel de Chambly,) to let her go with 
them, and her bitter wailings when the boat put out from 
shore without her. 

It was, perhaps, to spare her the recurrence of such scenes, 
that she was sent to Boucherville in 1708 to live with her 
sister Abigail. Here she gradually resigned herself to her 

Citizenship with all its privileges and penalties having 
been graciously accorded to her in 17 10 by His Majesty, 


Louis XIV, she married the following year, Charles Adrian 
le Grain, habitant soldier of Chambly, returning there to 
live with him. 

There I find her faithful friend Therese, wife of Hertel de 
Niverville, with Hertel de Beaulac' standing as sponsors to 
her first child, and there at the birth of her ninth child, 
she died in 1729. The spirit of the unredeemed captive, 
ransomed at last and safe in its eternal home, her dust lies 
there with that of the old noblesse, her friends and protectors. 

Gentle breezes whisper softly among the grass that waves 
above the sod ; the rapids of the Richelieu cease their angry 
roaring as they draw near the spot ; and the beautiful river 
sings its sweetest cadence as it flows by the place where 
Thankful Stebbins sleeps. 

'The frequent connection of the Hertel family with the Deerfield captives in 
Canada is interesting. 


Written for the Two Iluudreth Auniversary of the founding of the Cliurch in Dcertiekl. 

The church in Deerfield, as in all our New England plan- 
tations, is coeval with the town. The plan of the eight 
thousand acre grant' being laid before the General Court in 
1665, was approved and allowed, "provided that they mayne- 
tayne ye ordinances of Christ there, once within five years. 
When in 1673, discouraged at the slow settlement of Pocum- 
tuck, Samuel Hinsdell, Samson Frary and others, petitioned 
the General Court for liberty to cut loose from the mother 
town,^ and order all their own prudentiall affairs," permis- 
sion was given them, "provided that an able and orthodox 
minister within three years be settled among them." 

These requisites of ability and orthodoxy were easily 
found in the person of a Harvard graduate, young Samuel 
Mather of Dorchester, nephew of Increase, and cousin of 
Cotton Mather, the famous Boston preachers. "If God should 

'See the "Difficulties and Dangers of a Frontier Settlement. 

URCH TN D^^^^^^^T-^T^i^LD. 

p'riDii II port mi I oj 


lel Hiiv 


sion w 
minister -.v 

These ic^.. 
found in the \ 
Mather of Dorchet>u 
''^'^tton Mat'--' ^•^" '"m 

'See the 

I ral Court in they mayne- 
)iKA' within five years. 
w settlement r>f T'ornm 
rary and other 
erty tu cut loose fv 
■ own Drudcntirnl 

- , v jre easily 

I graduate, young; Samuel 

if Increase, and cousin of 

■•.-.ichers. "If God should 


•ier Settlement. 


be provoked by the unthankfulness of men, to send the 
plague of an unlearned ministry on New England," writes 
Cotton Mather, "soon will the wild beasts of the desart live 
there, and the houses will be full of doleful creatures, and 
owls will dwell there." 

This ancient town has never been stricken by the plague 
of an unlearned ministry. From Samuel Mather to the 
present day, her ministers have been able, and I venture to 
say, orthodox in the best sense of that word. 

It is probable that the first gathering of the church in 
Deerfield was in the garrison house of Quentin Stockwell, 
v/here the boy-preacher boarded. This house stood on the 
site now occupied by the parsonage of the second church. 
Meeting-House Hill is named, in John Pynchon's account 
book, as early as 1673. From the same source, we learn that 
Worshipful John, who held much good land in Pocumtuck, 
paid there in 1675 a rate for the minister's house, and also 
for "y'' little House for a Meeting house, that y^ Meet in." 

Years passed. Mr. John Williams, another youthful grad- 
uate of Harvard, was "encouraged" to turn his back upon 
the more alluring fields of the Bay settlements, and cast his 
lot among the pioneers of this frontier town, "to dispense 
the Blessed word of Truth unto them." 

"Att a legall Town Meeting in Deerf'', Oct. 30., 1694, Ensign 
John Sheldon Moderator that there shall be a meeting house Built 
in deerfield, upon the Town charge voted affirmatively : That there 
shal be a comitty chosen and impowered to agree with workmen 
to begin said building forthwith, and carry it on fast as may be: 
voted affirmatively 

That y*^ meetinghouse shal be built y*^ bigness of Hatfield meeting 
house, only y^ height to be left to y'" judgment and determination 
of y'^ comitty voted affirmatively." 

We cannot too often rebuild the little hamlet as it was on 
that Sunday morning in February, when for the last time. 


the faithful shepherd gathered his whole flock within the 
fold. North of Meeting-House Hill, on the west side of the 
street, lived Daniel Beldingon the old Stebbins place. John 
Stebbins's lot was the home of Lieut, and Deacon David 
Hoyt ; I know not which of his titles to put first, as both 
were then of equal value to the little community. Ebenezer 
Brooks then held the homestead of the Deerfield Antiquary. 
On the east, John Stebbins and his good wife Dorothy, dwelt 
on what we know as the David Sheldon place. Martin Kel- 
logg was their next neighbor. On the knoll now occupied 
by Mrs. Allen, lived Hannah Beaman, ever to be remembered 
as the good school dame of the early settlement, and a gen- 
erous benefactor of the town. At the south, was the pick- 
eted house of Lieut. Jonathan Wells, the boy hero, whose 
valor in the Falls Fight made his name illustrious. Philip 
Mattoon's family lived on Mrs. George Wells's lot, and the 
widow Smead, in the old house still standing opposite Mrs. 
Elizabeth W. Champney's. These, and many others equally 
worthy of remembrance, lived outside the stockade. 

The fortification enclosed the whole of Meeting-House 
Hill, including the present sites of both churches. Towards 
the northwest corner of the palisade, was the well-built house 
of Ensign John Sheldon, the "Old Indian House" of our 

Where Lincoln Wells's homestead is now, stood the dwell- 
ing of Benoni Stebbins, forever to be venerated as the spot 
where he, and six other brave men, nobly aided by the 
women, "stood stoutly to y'r armes with more than or- 
dinary couridge," says an eye witness of that dreadful day. 
As our school books mistake the old Indian House for the 
home of the Rev. John Williams, it is well that Deerfield 
children should be reminded that Parson Williams lived next 
south of Benoni Stebbins. The well that stood in his yard 
just west of the present Academy, is still in use. From the 


minister's to Mehuman Hinsdell's,' there were no houses ex- 
cept perhaps a few rude structures, built for those families 
who, having homes outside, fled for shelter within the pali- 
sades in time of danger. The lot next south of Hinsdell's 
was held by Mr. John Richards, schoolmaster. Opposite, 
was old Godfrey Nims's ; and next at the north, vSamson Frary 
built the house in 1698 which is still standing.^ Nims and 
Frary were two of the first three settlers in Deerfield. Next 
north of Samson Frary lived Mr. John Catlin. His son-in- 
law, Thomas French, on the lot adjoining, now owned by 
the Second Church. In the northeast corner of the stock- 
ade,^ was Samuel Carter's house. 

Equi-distant from the houses of Benoni Stebbins and En- 
sign Sheldon, a few rods northwest of the soldiers' monu- 
ment, stood the meeting house, a square, two-story building, 
with pyramidal roof surmounted by a turret, tipped with a 
weather-cock. In the front was a low, wide door, with a 
broad window on either side, and corresponding windows 
above from the galleries. 

Sunday morning, Feb. 27, 1703-4 dawned bright and fair. 
One of those severe storms, which are so often the immedi- 
ate forerunner of the breaking up of winter, had covered 
the ground with snow, to the depth of three feet on a level. 
A "sort of house" which Benjamin Munn had dug out and 
boarded over as a shelter for his family, in Mr. Richards's 
hillside, was hidden by the drifts. A little rain, and a gusty 
night had followed, a hard and glittering crust had formed, 
and the dead twigs lay scattered far and wide over its sur- 
face. Yet there was cheer in the air and sky, and though 
the mountain loomed black against the horizon, that tender 

'Now Mrs. Whiting's. 

The oldest house in the Connecticut Valley. Restored in 1892 by a de- 
scendant, c. A. B. 
^Now owned by Mrs. Yale. 


flush that shows the stir of the sap in every bush seemed to 
soften its outline. The brooks babbled joyously through 
the ice-bound swamps. The shrill crowing of cocks echoed 
from neighboring barn yards. The crows screamed noisily 
from the bare branches, as they wheeled from tree to tree in 
the meadows. There was spring in the air and in the hearts 
of the people as, at beat of drum, they slowly and decorous- 
ly wended their way to meeting. Climbing the hill from 
both ends of the town plat, they passed through the gates of 
the palisade, and filing silently into the meeting house took 
their allotted places on the long wooden benches. At the 
right of the preacher are the men : first the town officers 
and aged men who have formerly served in that capacity ; 
then those who hold any military rank. Behind them such 
as are known in the community as "Mr." or "Dr.," and final- 
ly all the rest of the men, with due regard to age, estate and 
place. Their wives occupy corresponding seats on the left 
of the broad aisle. The young men and maidens go qiiietly 
by separate stairs to the gallery, where a high railing sepa- 
rates them. They look down with curiosity, and perhaps 
envy, upon the three young couples lately joined in hoi)' 
wedlock, who shyly pass up the broad aisle, to rear seats in 
the body of the meeting-house, to which marriage has pro- 
moted them. A sense of strangeness, and a half homesick 
longing for the old Chicopee meeting-house, lends a shade of 
sadness to the face of Hannah Chapin, but a glance from her 
manly husband, young John Sheldon, reassures her. Eliza- 
beth Price shows a consciousness of having somewhat out- 
raged public opinion by her marriage with "the Indian." 
Abigail Stebbins has a self-complacent air, mingled with 
pride and satisfaction, which stings the heart of many a 
youth in the gallery, — while her husband, Jacques de Noy- 
on, bears himself with an air of saucy superiority and triumph, 
and evidently submits with ill grace to the tedious solemni- 


ties of the Puritan Sabbath. The boys are ranged on bench- 
es against the walls under the windows ; the little children 
on the floor near their mothers. Below the pulpit and raised 
some steps above the floor, on a long bench facing the con- 
gregation, sit the two deacons, Lieut. David Hoyt and Ensign 
John Sheldon. The garrison soldiers are seated near the 
great door with bandoliers on shoulder and matchlocks close 
at hand. The seats were hard, the service long, the meeting- 
house cold and gloomy, but the piety of our fathers was fer- 
vid, — and warmed and comforted, the people dispersed. 

Among the dignitaries on the foremost seats of the meet- 
ing-house that day, were Mr. John Catlin and his daughter's 
husband, Thomas French, the town clerk. 

Mr. John Catlin, born in Weathersfield, Conn., in 1643, and 
married there at the age of twenty-four, to Mary, daughter 
of Joseph Baldwin, had been an early settler at Branford, 
Conn., whence he removed to Newark, N. J. He was a lead- 
ing man in church and town affairs in Branford and Newark. 
He stands on Newark records in 1678 as "Town's Attorney," 
and is spoken of as "an honest brother to take care that all 
town orders be executed, and if a breach occurs to punish 
the offender." He was one of the selectmen of Newark from 
1676 to 1 68 1. In 1683 he was in Hartford, where, the same 
year, his oldest daughter, Mary Catlin, married Thomas, son 
of John French, formerly of Rehoboth, Mass., but then of 

Thomas French and his father-in-law, John Catlin, prob- 
ably came together to Deerfield in 1683, French settling on 
the Quentin Stockwell place which his father had bought 
some years before, and Catlin, on the next lot south. Cat- 
lin's dignity, services and influence, soon gave him the hon- 
orable title of "Mr." among his fellow-townsmen, and as be- 
fore in Branford and Newark, he was in Deerfield a trusted 
leader in public affairs. 


French, a blacksmith by trade, at once built a shop, and 
set up his anvil by the roadside in front of his house. The 
industry and morality of Thomas French gave him the re- 
spect of his neighbors, and from the beginning he served 
them in responsible positions. Sometimes as hayward, some- 
times as corporal of the guard : on committees for building 
and seating the meeting-house, and for hiring a schoolmas- 
ter : for measuring the common fence, and laying out to ev- 
ery man his due proportion of the expense, and for fortify- 
ing Meeting-house Hill. His name appears in 1688, as one 
of the first selectmen chosen by the town. To this office he 
was repeatedly re-elected. 

Encouraged by the news that the Prince of Orange had 
landed in England, the people rose in their might against 
Sir Edmund Andros. He was thrown into prison. A Coun- 
cil of Safety, headed by old Simon Bradstreet, was elected. 
A convention of delegates was summoned from the several 
towns of Massachusetts to assemble in Boston, on the 22d of 
May, 1689, to deliberate upon the future government of New 
England. There is no town record of any meeting in Deer- 
field in response to this summons. In the Massachusetts 
Archives the following paper may be found : 

"Deerfield, May 17. 1689 
We^ the Town of Deerfield, complying with the desire of the 
present Counsell of Safety, to choose one among us as a representa- 
tive to send down, to signify our minds and concurrance with the 
Counsell for establishing of the government, have chosen and de- 
puted Lieutenant Thomas Wells, and signified to him our minds for 
the proceeding to the settlement of the government as hath been 
signified to us from the Honorable Counsell of Safety, and those 
other Representatives. [Signed] 

John Sheldon, ^ 

Benj. Hastings, Selectmen." 

Benoni Stebbms, ( 
Thomas French, J 


The part played by Thomas French and his associates on 
this occasion, shows them to have been shrewd diploma- 
tists and fearless patriots. However justifiable, this was a 
revolution. If unsuccessful, the result would be for Thom- 
as Wells, who held his commission from Andros, trial and 
punishment for treason. For John Sheldon, Benjamin Hast- 
ings, Benoni Stebbins and Thomas French, the severest pen-^ 
alties that a vindictive governor could inflict upon the lead- 
ers of a rebellion. The names of Thomas French and the 
others who did not hesitate to assume this grave responsi- 
bility for the town, must be forever honored. 

At a Town meeting held "March i 1694-5 Joseph Barnard was 
chosen Town Clerk for the year Ensuing" 

"Sept. 17, 1695 Thomas ffrench was chosen Town Clerk" 

Between these entries made by the two men respectively, 
he who runs may read the tragedy known in the annals of 
Deerfield as the Massacre at Indian Bridge. The births of 
a son and four daughters to Thomas and Mary Catlin French, 
had been duly registered by Joseph Barnard. When his hand 
was stilled in death by a shot from the skulking foe, Thom- 
as French took up the pen and wrote the following: 

"Abigail, daughter to Thomas and Mary ffrench was born ffeb. 
28 1697-8" 

"Jerusha and Jemima twins, — daughters To M'' Jn° and Mrs. 
Eunice Williams were Born Sept. 3, 1701. 

Jerusha (2nd) Daughter To M"" Jn° and M^'s Eunice Williams, was 
Born January 15, 1703-4. 

Jn° son to Thomas and Mary ffrench was born ffeb. i 1703-4^ 

This is the last line of the town records written by Thom- 
as French. Minutes of a town meeting held late in April 
instead of in March that year; the election of a few town 
officers,— notably of a new town clerk; the following and 

'From the Town Records of Deerfield, 


similar entries in a new handwriting' upon the town book, — 
these are all the record left by the afflicted people of Deerfield 
of the sorrows that befell them on the 29th of Feb., 1703-4. 

"jerufha Williams Daughter to M'" Jn" & M''s Eunice Williams was 
flain y'' 29 of ffebruary 1703 

Mrs Eunis Williams wife to M'' Jn" Williams head of y'^' Family 
was flain by y^ enemi March i 1704 

Jn° ffrench fon to Thomas and Mary ffrench was fl lyn by y'' Ene- 
my ffebruary 29, 1703-4 

Mary ffrench Wife to Thomas ffrench head of this Family was 
flain by y'^ Enimie March 9 1703-4' 

Our fathers were men of few words, and of stern endur- 
ance. They believed that their sufferings were the result of 
their sins, and that with wise and beneficent purpose, did 
God chastise them. To Him alone they poured forth their 
souls, — never in complaint, but ever in prayer that they 
"might be prepared to sanctify and honor Him in what way 
soever He should come forth towards them" — and "have 
grace to glorify His name whether in life or death." More 
eloquent than speech is their silence in relation to the "awful 
desolations of that day." 

Not long before break of day the enemy came in like a 
flood upon them. Pouring over the palisade the frightful 
tide swept on, overwhelming with destruction all that lay in 
its path. The morning dawned on a scene of horror. Shar- 
ing the fate of many of his neighbors, Mr. John Catlin with 
his son Jonathan lay dead among the smoking embers of 
their ruined home. The house of Thomas French was gut- 
ted but not burned, and the town records escaped unharmed. 
The meeting-house that so lately had echoed with psalm and 
prayer, now resounded with groans of anguish. There lay 
the captives, ignorant of the fate of friends and kindred. 

'From the Town Records of Deerfield. 


There too, stretched upon the hard benches, were the enemy's 
wounded. There, Hertel de Rouville himself, smarting un- 
der his hurt, rushed in for a moment to cheer his wounded 
brother, to whom he whispered curses on the savage horde 
who had broken their promise to him that they would fight 
like civilized Frenchmen. 

There were those whom we saw but late, so proud and 
happy. Hannah Chapin tense with anxiety, eagerly listening 
for every sound, while her husband, young John Sheldon, to 
whom love lent wings, was flying for aid to Hatfield. Eliza- 
beth Price mute with woe, for Andrew, the Indian, had been 
slain at her side. Abigail Stebbins, not utterly cast down, 
for De Noyon, her father and mother, and sisters and brothers 
were all with her, and De Noyon had told her that his home 
was near Montreal, and that they would soon be released. 
There too, bound hand and foot was Thomas French with 
his wife, Mary Catlin, and their five eldest children. A few 
hours completed the devastation. The sun as it rose above 
the mountain, looked down on a dreadful sight. The main 
body of the enemy with their sorrowful captives had left the 
town. A few loth to cease their wanton pillage still lingered, 
and in the house of Benoni Stebbins, around his dead body, 
Lieutenant (Deacon) David Hoyt, and Joseph Catlin, with four 
other valiant men still kept at bay the Macqua chief and his 

Roused by the hoarse cries of young John Sheldon, as he 
sped on bare and bleeding feet through the hamlets below, 
thirty men on horseback, guided by the light of the burning 
village, were riding fast to the rescue. As they entered the 
stockade the foe fled precipitately from the north gate, across 
the frozen meadows to the northwest, reaching the river at 
the Red Rocks. 

Capt. Wells at once took command of the rescuing party, 
reinforced by fifteen of his neighbors and five garrison sol- 


diers, and iiivStantly followed up the enemy. "Bravely but 
rashly and without order," I quote from Mr. Sheldon, "the 
pursuers rush on, intent only on avenging their slaughtered 
friends. As they warm up to the fight, they throw off gloves, 
coats, hats, waistcoats, neckcloths. Capt. Wells cannot con- 
trol the headlong chase. He sees the danger and orders a 
halt, the order is unheeded, and the foe is followed reckless- 
ly into the inevitable ambuscade." 

Meanwhile on Meeting-house Hill, the scanty remnant of 
the townsfolk, cautiously creep out from their hiding places, 
and gather in knots seeking for tidings. As the dreadful 
tale is told, they know not whether most to rejoice or to la- 
ment that they have been left behind. Among them is Mary 
Baldwin Catlin. While waiting with her children, and chil- 
dren's children, the order to march into captivity she had as 
was her habit, ministered to the needs, and soothed the sor- 
rows of her friends and neighbors. Nor had she turned a 
deaf ear to the cry of her enemy for help. With the tender 
sympathy of a Christian woman, she had held the cup of cold 
water to the parched lips of the wounded French lieutenant, 
craving it with piteous appeal. In the hurry of departure, 
either by design, or by accident, none had claimed her as his 
captive. Her neighbors look upon her as one suddenly risen 
from the dead. They go with her to her desolated home, 
where she learns the fate of her husband, and of her second 
son. They find her little grandson, baby John French, dead 
on the threshold of his father's empty house. When some 
one says that Captain Wells has been repulsed, and that 
Joseph Catlin, her eldest son, has fallen in the meadow fight, 
her heart breaks. A Rachel, mourning for her children, and 
would not be comforted, she lingered a few weeks, and died 
from the shock of that day's horror. 

On the 9th of March, Mary Catlin, wife of Thomas French, 
was killed on the retreat to Canada. Her husband with all 


their surviving children, Mary aged seventeen, Thomas four- 
teen. Freedom eleven, Martha, eight and Abigail six, were 
carried to Montreal. 

Mary French and her brother Thomas, with their father, 
were brought back to Deerfield in 1706 by Ensign John Shel- 
don, in his second expedition to Canada for the redemption 
of the captives. An interesting evidence of the proneness 
of Deerfield maidens to versifying, exists in a poem said 
to have been written by Mary French to a younger sis- 
ter during their captivity, in the fear lest the latter 
might become a Romanist. Soon after his return, Thomas 
French was made Deacon of the church in Deerfield in place 
of Deacon David Hoyt, who had died of starvation at 
Coos on the march to Canada. In 1709, Deacon French 
married the widow of Benoni Stebbins. He died in 1733 at 
the age of seventy six, respected and regretted as an honest 
and useful man and a pillar of the church and state. 

To his great grief all efforts for the redemption of his 
three daughters had failed. On her arrival in Canada, Free- 
dom was placed in the family of a French merchant in Mon- 
treal, and in 1706 was baptized as Marie Frangoise, the Puri- 
tanic name by which she had been known in Deerfield, be- 
ing thus forever set aside. In 1713, she married Jean Dave- 
luy of the village of St. Lambert, and thus became the an- 
cestress of many French Canadian families of excellent re- 

Martha French was given by her Indian captors to the 
Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame at Montreal. In 
1707, she was baptized, soiis condition, receiving from her 
god-mother the name of Marguerite. At the age of sixteen, 
she was married to Jacques Roi, also of St. Lambert. Ma- 
rie Francoise French was present at her sister's wedding, 
and the autographs of the two sisters on the marriage regis- 
ter, are as clear to-day as when first written. The names of 


the bride's parents are given in full and Thomas Freneh is 
called ''clcrc on notairc dc Dicrfilde" in New England. 


On the third of May, 1733, just one month from the day 
of her father's death in Deerfield, Martha Marguerite French, 
widow of Jacques Roi, signed her second marriage contract, 
and the following day married Jean Louis Menard, at St. 
Laurent, a parish of Montreal. Nineteen years later, her 
daughter Louise Menard, was married at Montreal to Joseph- 
Amable Plessis called Belair. 

The ancestor of Plessis, the first of the name in Canada, emi- 
grating from Metz in Lorraine in the beginning of the eight- 
eenth century, took up his abode in the outskirts of Montreal. 
There he, and his son after him, carried on the trade of tan- 
ning, and the place to this day is known as "The Tanneries 
of Belair." At Montreal on the 3rd of March, 1763, Joseph- 
Octave, son of Joseph-Amable Plessis and Louise Menard, 
grandson of Martha and great-grandson of Deacon Thomas 
French, was born. 

The boy was fortunate in his parentage. His father and 
mother cultivated the old fashioned virtues of simplicity, 
honesty and devoutness. His father was a blacksmith, so- 
called. Near one of the city gates, Joseph-Amable Plessis 
had a large shop, where he made axes, hammers, hinges, and 
all the iron implements in use in a new country. He had 
many apprentices and was chiefly occupied in making hatch- 
ets for trade with the savages. Discipline, industry and sys- 
tem reigned over his workshop. Irregularity, idleness and 
disorder he would not tolerate. The work of the forge for 
the year, was planned in advance, and the order never 
changed. A devout Catholic, determined to secure for him- 


self and his employe's a faithful observance of the fasts of his 
church, he humanely and with good business foresight, 
adapted -his work to the conditions. In the Lenten season 
the heavy hammers of the forge were silent and the men 
took up the lighter labor of sharpening and polishing the 
axes that had been made in the autumn and winter and 
stored away unfinished. Once a month the father sent his 
sons and apprentices to the parish priest for confession. 
The mother took care that the religious duties of her daugh- 
ters and domestics w^ere duly performed. On Sundays and 
fete days the whole household went together to the parish 
church. The children were taught reading and their first 
catechism by the mother, who also trained them in habits of 
economy and order. 

From the teaching and example of such parents, Joseph 
Octave Plessis learned early to love labor, to be diligent, to 
be orderly and economical in the arrangement of his time 
and affairs, firm in self discipline, and honest and upright in 
his dealings. Though by nature merry and gay, the boy 
was thoughtful and dignified beyond his years, and soon 
showed such a desire to learn that his parents put him in a 
primary school, founded by the gentlemen of the Seminary 
of Saint-Sulpice. Here, Joseph made such progress that he 
was soon promoted to a Latin School kept in the old Chateau 
Vaudreuil. Here he tried the patience of good father Cura- 
teau by his dulness in his Latin grammar which he hated, 
though he showed a fondness for Geography, History and 

At the end of the first half of his course at the Latin school, 
he astonished his father one morning, by the announcement 
that he was disgusted with study, and that he would much 
rather stay at home than take up logic and metaphysics. 
The conduct of the father on this occasion, shows him to 
have been a remarkable man. Without the least intention 


of permitting the shipwreck of the boy's intellectual career, 
he had too much sense to oppose or argue with him. "Very 
well, my son," he replied, "take off your scholar's g6wn, put 
on one of the boy's aprons, and go into the shop. There is 
work enough there to keep you busy. When you wish to 
go back to your books let me know." To the lad, his fa- 
ther's word was law, and with a heavy heart, he went his 
way to the shop, where he worked pluckily for a week, 
though every bone in his little body ached with the unusual 
fatigue. Then without a word of complaint he threw off his 
apron, donned his capote and marched back to school, a wiser 
and a happier boy. 

At fifteen, with his brother and one or two comrades, he 
was sent to the Seminary in Quebec, which then offered 
greater advantages than that of Montreal. Communication 
between the two cities was difficult and infrequent. The 
choice lay between a schooner, which could not always be 
had, and a wagon, which was too expensive. Such was the 
delay and uncertainty, that it often happened that the little 
fellows would not reach their homes in Montreal till vacation 
was ended. Every year the Grand Vicar wrote from Mon- 
treal to the Bishop of Quebec, "The Montreal boys cannot 
be in Quebec at the opening of the course." Sometimes the 
more spirited boys took the matter into their own hands, 
and set out on foot for home at the beginning of the holi- 
days. Picture Joseph-Octave and his friends ready for an 
early start on a fine summer morning. In the uniform of 
the Seminary boy, a long, black frock coat, many seamed 
and welted with white ; a green sash ; a flat-topped cloth 
cap, with broad leather visor, — each boy with his little deer- 
skin pack between his shoulders. First to the chapel for 
prayers to the protectress of pilgrims, thence to the court 
yard of the Seminary, where, surrounded by a crowd of their 
fellows, they cheer the time-honored walls. Pouring through 


the great gate, they run joyously down the steep hill to the 
river, and following it to the west, singing gay chansons as 
they go, they soon reach the open country. At sunset they 
seek the nearest farmhouse, sure of a kindly welcome. The 
best room with its plain deal chairs and settle, its clumsy 
stove, and its bare floor with rag mats, is thrown open for 
them to rest in. Camping at night on the new-mown hay 
in the long barn, they rise at dawn to a breakfast of ome- 
lettes and black bread. The generous lads fling down a 
handful of coppers to the habitanfs wife, but she is not to 
be outdone in courtesy, ''Non, non messieurs," she is too glad 
to give her best to the young gentlemen of the Seminary, 
and off they start again followed by her blessing and her 

The career of Joseph-Octave Plessis at the Seminary of 
Quebec, is thus summed up by one who knew him well : 
"Study had no difficulties that he did not level, nothing dis- 
tasteful for which he did not conquer his disrelish, no ob- 
stacles that he did not overcome." Though this may be ex- 
aggerated praise, it is certain that Joseph was an intelligent, 
industrious and ambitious pupil, respected by his comrades 
and beloved by his teachers. 

Born at the most critical period in the history of Canada, 
at the time of its cession to the English, this serious and 
thoughtful boy reflected much upon how he could best serve 
his country. Two careers were open to him ; the bar and 
the church. The former meant the delights of the world, a 
home, wife, children, wealth, the adulation of friends, office, 
success. The latter, a solitary life with its austerities, its 
poverty, and its possible compensations to an exalted nature. 

At the age of seventeen Joseph decided to become a priest. 
It is not likely that the youth comprehended the greatness 
of the sacrifice, which, later, a man of his temperament must 
inevitably have realized. Having received the tonsure from 


Bishop Briand, who had watched his development with a fa- 
therly interest, he was sent to the college of Montreal to 
teach till he could take orders. Though qualified in other 
respects for the place, young Plessis found to his great mor- 
tification, that two of his pupils were ahead of him in Latin. 
Nothing daunted, however, he set to work, and in two weeks 
mastered the Latin grammar so that forty years after he 
could repeat pages of it verbatim. We have here the key to 
his future success. Indomitable will, genuineness, willing- 
ness to work. His pupils soon learned to respect him. Such 
a teacher will always be respected. He became so fond of 
his profession, that to the last day of his life, in the midst of 
his most brilliant successes, he did not cease to regret that 
he had given it up. From this time he became fond of the. 
old Latin writers, and liked to recite many of the odes of 
Horace. In 1783, though still too young to take orders, he 
was called by Bishop Briand to be Secretary of the diocese 
of Quebec. The duties of this office, in a diocese extending 
from New Orleans to the coast of Labrador, were complicated 
and onerous. The Bishop himself was ill. His coadjutor, 
Mgr. D'Esgly, lived at a distance and was, moreover, aged 
and infirm. Plessis's prudence and good judgment, with 
the business-like habits to which he had been trained, made 
him equal to his task. He lived with the Bishop, venerated 
him as a father, and was beloved and trusted as a son. The 
Bishop had been a careful student of men and affairs. He 
talked earnestly with his secretary about the causes that had 
led to the fall of the French dominion in Canada and ana- 
lyzed with him the character of the men who had held the 
reins of government at the time of the cession. It is safe to 
say, that the affectionate intercourse between the good Bish- 
op and his secretary, was the foundation of the distinction 
finally attained by the latter. 

At the age of twenty-three, Plessis was ordained priest, 


and six years later, while still fulfilling- the duties of secre- 
tary, he was made cure of Quebec. Nothing is more trying 
than to become the successor in office of one who has been 
long considered as the embodiment of fitness and nobility in 
his position. Monsieur Hubert, the predecessor of Plessis, 
was the idol of his parish. His fine intellect and physical 
beauty, with the added charm of an afi:able manner, gentle- 
ness and consideration for others, had endeared him to all 
classes. Plessis, in these trying circumstances, behaved with 
credit to himself and to the satisfaction of all. His labors at 
this time were very severe. He rose at four in the morning, 
and rarely went to bed before midnight. This short rest 
was often disturbed by his duties as curc\ which called him 
to the sick and dying-. Eager in the pursuit of knowledge, 
he resolutely devoted one whole night of every week to 
study. His youth and good health at first upheld him, but 
after three or four months of it, he found himself so sleepy 
the next day that he gained nothing by the practice, and 
wisely gave it up. 

The youth of his parish were his tender care. He never 
lost sight of them, but watched their conduct, and gave them 
good advice as they grew up. To those who were too fond 
of dancing, he liked to quote the words of Saint Francis de 
Sales, — ^"I say about balls, what the doctors say about mush- 
rooms, — the best of them are good for nothing." Education 
occupied much of his thought, particularly that of the work- 
ing classes. He founded schools in the suburbs of Quebec, 
chose the masters, and personally supervised the classes. 
When he found an especially bright child, he urged the par- 
ents to send it to college, and if poverty was pleaded as ex- 
cuse, his own scanty purse supplied the means. He took one 
child into his own house and himself taught him for a year 
and a half. In a letter to a friend, he speaks of this boy 
with fond praise, and encloses with pride a "-rondeau com- 


posed by my Remi" as he affectionately calls him. He sent 
him to college, but after finishing his studies, the young 
man was unwilling to enter the church for which his bene- 
factor had destined him, and the good cun^ generously made 
it easy for him to study law. He became afterwards Chief 
Justice of Lower Canada. 

The first state paper of Plessis upholds parochial schools 
against a proposition by the government to establish a mixed 
college on equal terms for Protestants and Catholics. Plessis 
sees in this a blow aimed at the French language and relig- 
ion ; asks what place the Catholic Bishop of Quebec is to 
hold in the proposed institution ; reminds the administra- 
tion that the Jesuits had already a good college, where the 
boys are taught reading, writing and arithmetic, — and with 
keen satire, expresses his surprise that a government so zeal- 
ous for the education of Canadian youth should have appro- 
priated this building for its Bureau of Archives. 

As a preacher Msgr. Plessis lacked that personal magnet- 
ism which touches and captivates an audience. His lan- 
guage was simple, his manner earnest. He was not a brill- 
iant orator, though in many of his occasional sermons he 
rises to eloquence, as in that on Nelson's Victory of the Nile. 
As an example of his energy, he mastered English in a few 
months, in order to keep within his fold some English Cath- 
olic families of his parish. He sometimes preached in Eng- 
lish, but he never pronounced it well. 

I will not detail the steps by which Martha French's grand- 
son rose from being choir boy in the cathedral of Montreal, 
to become Bishop of the vast diocese of Quebec. In thank- 
ing a friend who wished him joy and peace in his new of- 
fice, M. Plessis replied, "It remains to be seen whether the 
happiness of a Bishop on earth is anything but a series of 
difficulties and crosses by which he may be fitted for eternal 
glory." He saw the struggle that was before him. A weak- 


er man would have shrunk from the contest. He nerved 
himself to meet it, and his foresight and prudence, his mod- 
eration and candor, his forbearance and self-control, his in- 
telligence and his courage, — carried him safely and triumph- 
antly through, and made him and his cause respected by all. 
To understand his position we must go back a little. 

The treaty of 1763, nominally secured to the French Ca- 
nadians the free exercise of their religion, and to the clergy, 
their customary dues and rights from the Catholic people of 
Canada. So long as both parties desired to maintain a good 
understanding and friendly relations with one another ; so 
long as the French Catholic Bishop was moderate in his de- 
mands, and loyal to the king ; so long as the English Prot- 
estant Governor was conciliatory, and disposed to allow the 
French reasonable freedom in the exercise of their religion, 
all was well. This had been the state of affairs between 
Bishop Briand and Sir Guy Carleton. Indeed the latter, in 
1775, publicly declared that the preservation of the province 
of Quebec to Great Britain was due to the loyalty of the 
Roman Catholic clergy ; and the Bishop was left undisturbed 
in his ancient prerogative of creating parishes and appoint- 
ing cure's. The two Bishops after Briand had enjoyed the 
same liberty unchallenged. On the election of Monseigneur 
Denaut as Bishop, Governor Prescott asked that a list of the 
cures appointed during the year should be annually sent 
him, in order that he might render an account to the minis- 
ter, if necessary. In preferring this request, he assured the 
Bishop that he would be left free to act in all other matters. 
All the Bishops since the cession as before, in their private 
letters and public documents, had very properly signed them- 
selves Bishops of Quebec. In the meantime, however. Dr. 
Mountain arrived in Quebec with his commission from the 
king as Bishop of the Anglican church of Quebec. Still the 
Catholic Bishop continued to issue his letters and circulars 


as Bishop of Quebec. The clouds be^an to gather. The 
anti-Catholic faction which had always existed in the colon- 
ial government, but had heretofore been held in abeyance 
by the harmony existing between the Governor and the 
Bishop, began to act more openly. We have seen the spe- 
cious project of a mixed college, involving the right to seize 
the property of the Jesuits and Sulpitians, and to put all the 
educational interests of a Catholic population of two hundred 
thousand souls into the hands of a Protestant board of di- 
rectors, with the Anglican Bishop at the head. 

The most bitter of the anti-Catholic faction was Ryland, 
the Governor's secretary, who did not hesitate to avow his 
contempt and detestation of that religion. In a letter writ- 
ten in 1804, he declared his belief that Catholicism could be 
annihilated in Canada within ten years, and the king's su- 
premacy established. In Plessis, as the defender of the 
rights of French Canadians, Ryland recognized a formidable 
antagonist, and tried by intrigue with the home govern- 
ment, to overthrow and degrade him. The Attorney-Gener- 
al Sewall shared Ryland's feeling, and pronounced a decision 
in the courts that the government had the sole right of cre- 
ating parishes and of electing cures ; that all those created 
since 1763, were null and void, and that such a thing as a 
Roman Catholic bishop of Quebec did not exist. The Lord- 
Bishop, after tendering his resignation, on the plea that the 
right to elect curates was denied him, that the superintend- 
ent of the Romish church publicly assumed the title of Bish- 
op of Quebec, while at the same time the said superintend- 
ent and his clergy took special care not to give him this ti- 
tle, set out for England to lay his complaints before the 

This was the state of affairs when in 1806, Plessis became 
Bishop of Quebec. Fortunately the Lieutenant-Governor, 
then acting Governor and a devoted adherent of the English 


church and its Bishop, was also in England, and though Ry- 
land did all he could to prevent Plessis from being allowed 
to style himself Bishop of Quebec in taking the oath of fidel- 
ity to the king, the chief councillor in charge of affairs in 
the Governor's absence, admitted the oath. Plessis fully 
understood the situation. He had always seen, as few had, 
how easy it would be for a tyrannical colonial government 
to evade that clause of the treaty, permitting to the Cana- 
dians the free enjoyment of their religion. He felt, too, 
that that clause had been nullified by Parliament in the act 
of 1774. The destiny of the Catholic church in Canada was 
committed to his hands. There were rocks on either side. 
The helm must be firmly grasped, the ship steered straight. 
Single-handed he must fight against three of its most bitter 
enemies. Tact, caution, discretion, patience, self-control, 
firmness, — these must be his weapons. Towards the last of 
his life he said to one of his vicars involved in ecclesiastical 
strife, "Foolish speeches are for those who make them. Do 
not let their bad conduct vex you. Continue to act with 
charity and forbearance. In every contention, happy is he 
who knows how to keep good behavior on his side." This 
was the lesson he had learned in his long struggle. 

During the ten years' contest between the officers of the 
crown and Plessis, he was often summoned to discussion with 
them concerning the king's prerogative. In his arguments, 
one hears now a Roger Williams, advocating obedience to 
the higher law, — and then the civil service reformer, oppos- 
ing bribery and corruption in politics, and demanding the 
complete separation of church and state. Inflexible as Lav- 
al in maintaining the supremacy of the church, his methods 
were better. Laval was bigoted and imperious; Plessis, 
liberal and conciliatory. Aggression was the mission of the 
former, mediation of the latter. In these disputes with the 
Governor and Council, he never lost his temper, and only 


once does lie allude to his personal feelings. At the end of 
a long discussion with Craig, he says, "It has been the prin- 
ciple of my life to support the government in every way 
that I can conscientiously do so. No one is more loyal, more 
obedient to the law of the land than I am, and having done 
as much as my predecessors for the service of the govern- 
ment, I hoped that the government would not treat me 
worse than it had treated them." 

To efface the bad impression left by Craig upon the minds 
of the French Canadians, Sir George Prevost, a man of very 
different stamp, was made his successor. Doubtless instruct- 
ed to adopt a conciliatory policy toward the French, educat- 
ed by the mistakes of his predecessor in office, and perhaps 
believing that the time had come, when a slight concession 
from the Bishop would forever settle the vexed question of 
supremacy, the new Governor, as Plessis was about to de- 
part for the missions of the Gulf, addressed him as follows : 
"I have received despatches from England. The govern- 
ment desires to place you on a more respectable footing, but 
it is expected that you yourself will name the conditions. 
Let me have your ideas on this subject before your depart- 
ure. We must provide for everything and have a good un- 

Plessis had remained unmoved by the intrigues of Ryland 
and the threats of Craig. Temptation came to him now in 
a new form. It would have been easy for a man of weaker 
principles to have persuaded himself that he had borne and 
foregone enough ; that he had stood long enough in the 
breach ; that with a Governor as well disposed as Sir George 
Prevost, a merely nominal surrender would secure to himself 
all the honors, privileges and emoluments of his position ; 
that he had earned the right to ease and repose, and might 
now claim the reward of his services. But Bishop Plessis 
was not the man to shirk responsibility for the present upon 


the future. His fidelity to what he believed right was un- 
compromising-. As if to fortify himself at the outset against 
the sophistry of such arguments, he wrote to the Governor : 
"I shall have the honor to send your Lordship a statement 
of my views, but I must declare in advance that no temporal 
offer will induce me to renounce any part of my spiritual 
jurisdiction. It is not mine to make way with. I hold it as 
a sacred trust of which I must render an account." 

The memorial that follows defining the position and rights 
of the Catholic Bishops of Quebec, past, present and future, 
is a masterpiece of good sense, sound reasoning, candor and 

During the Bishop's absence at the missions of the gulf, 
the war of 18 12 broke out. On his return to Quebec he found 
all Canada in a state of great excitement. The government 
had been forced to appeal to the Canadians, the same Cana- 
dians whom Ryland and his friends had chosen to represent as 
continually on the eve of revolt, for aid to resist the entrance 
into Canada of American troops. The French Canadians re- 
sponded nobly to the Governor's appeal. This was Plessis' 
supreme moment.' Mandements, addresses, circulars, pas- 
toral letters fly fast from his pen. Letters to the people at 
home and in the ranks ; letters of comfort to the women and 
children temporarily bereft of husbands and fathers in their 
country's service ; letters to the militia, exhorting them to 
loyalty, patriotism and piety ; letters to his cures, thanking 
and encouraging them to stand by the government. Circu- 
lars and mandements providing not only for the immediate 
wants of those left behind, but for possible famine in the fu- 
ture in consequence of fields unfilled and harvests ungathered 
in time of war. 

Full recognition of the Bishop's services was made by Sir 
George Prevost to the home government, and in 181 3, the 
Prince Regent in the name of the king decreed to the Bishop 


of Quebec an allowance of ;^iooo per annum, as a testimony 
to his loyalty and good conduct. Plessis had his private 
satisfaction from his opponents if he desired it, when Ryland 
as clerk of the Executive Council had to name him as Bishop 
of Quebec. 

His triumph was complete when in 18 17, he was appointed 
by the crown a member of the Legislative Council of Can- 

To this hasty sketch of his public career let me add a 
glimpse of the private life of this remarkable man. Though 
short in stature, he was of commanding presence. His fine 
head was well set on his broad shoulders. His forehead was 
noble, his eyes dark and piercing. His mouth was firm and 
decided, but his expression was kindly. In his face, as in 
his character, are many traits of striking resemblance to 
some of his race whom we have known in Deerfield. Be- 
neath his grave exterior was a fund of gayety that won him 
the love of children and youth. A clerical friend remembers 
having been carried when a child of five to see the great 
Bishop, who took him on his lap saying, "Come now, sing to 
me, — sing me all your little songs." On his visits to college 
and convent, the pupils gathered freely about him. He told 
them stories and taught them the games and songs of his 
boyhood. Ajffectionate and sensitive, he was equally suscep- 
tible to kindness and injury, and easily moved to tears or 
laughter. His" keen sense of the ridiculous came near be- 
traying him into untimely mirth on more than one occasion. 
In a small parish church, towards the close of one of his 
most serious discourses, his eye fell upon one of those crude 
paintings which at that period adorned the country church- 
es. A purple sky, with sun, moon and stars. Saint-Michael 
in red coat, blue trousers and heavy riding boots, winging 
his way with flaming sword to earth and about to with 
heavy heel the big nose of Lucifer, while the latter parries 


the blow with his horns. The preacher's gaze was riveted. 
Feeling that he must laugh outright he sat down ; rose 
again, coughed, — abruptly wound up his sermon, and rush- 
ing to the sacristy burst into prolonged laughter. 

The daily routine of the Bishop was much the same as 
when he was curate. He was in his office by half-past seven 
in the morning, and did not leave it, except for his devo- 
tions and the mid-day meal, till supper time. After that, he 
gave himself up for an hour to a pleasant chat with his priests. 
He was witty, with a fine appreciation of humor ; a brilliant 
talker, told a good story, and liked a joke even though he 
himself was the victim. He used to tell with glee, how af- 
ter giving an hour of good advice in English, to an old 
Irishwoman, she suddenly silenced him by saying that she 
didn't understand a word of French. His methodical busi- 
ness habits rendered possible his immense correspondence. 
He never let affairs accumulate on his hands. Volumes of 
his manuscript letters are carefully preserved. Letters to 
his clergy on every imaginable subject concerning the phys- 
ical and spiritual welfare of his people ; on education, moral 
and intellectual ; on vaccination, and the state of the crops. 
Letters to the Ursuline sisters, playful and affectionate like 
those of a father to his daughters. "In his very familiarity," 
says one, "there was something indefinable commanding re- 
spect. If we were entirely at our ease with Monseignieur 
Plessis, we never could forget that he was our Superior and 
our Bishop." Writing, on a voyage to the Gulf he says, 
"Your prayers have sustained me wonderfully up to this mo- 
ment, though they have not prevented my having pretty 
strong doses of sea-sickness several times. So you have not 
besought Heaven to calm the waves and make the wind 
blow as softly as one of your lay sisters blows to kindle the 
fire in the morning. This breath of ocean is far mightier, 
and makes my poor little schooner roll so as to break dishes 


and bottles. All this, however, has no lasting effect on one's 
health. As soon as one lands the misery is over, and we will 
not speak of the inconveniences of life especially since we 
know we deserve so much worse things." 

From the Magdalen Islands he writes, "Here there are no 
serpents, frogs, toads, rats or bugs. No grain grows, nor 
melons, nor flax, nor onions, nor turnips nor Indian corn. 
The women are as modest as nuns. They till the soil, while 
the men fish for a living. Bad faith, theft, quarrelling are 
unknown here ; locks and keys unheard of. People would 
have a very bad opinion of anyone who bolted his door." 
Again he writes, "I am going to confess my ignorance. I 

can't succeed in making any good ink I beg you to 

have one of your teachers make me some. I will pay for all 
the vinegar used. I will exchange empty bottles for full 
ones, and I will thank you very much into the bargain." 
From this time forth the nuns made all the ink he used, and 
if the consumption exceeded the supply he was sure to send 
a note written with bad ink and this postcript: "If you don't 
find my ink black enough you may send me some other." 
Though he kept two secretaries he replied promptly with 
his own hand to all who sought his help. He was generous 
to a fault, and reminds one of the Apostle Eliot in his lavish 
alms to the needy. He never could keep any money for 
himself. What was quaintly said of the patriarch White is 
as true of Plessis. "He absolutely commanded his own pas- 
sions, and the purses of his parishioners, whom he could 
wind up to what height he pleased on important occasions." 

The best summary of the life and character of Plessis, is 
to be found in his own eulogy on good Bishop Briand. "He 
had learned from Jesus Christ to render unto Caesar, the 
things that are Caesar's, and from Saint Paul, submission to 

the powers that be No one was more upright 

more sincere, more fearless and self-possessed amid 


untoward events No one knew better than he, 

how to reconcile what he owed to God with what he con- 
sidered due to his fellow-men." 

Three times during his Episcopate, Bishop Plessis visited 
every parish in Lower Canada, and so prodigious was his 
memory, that he knew the names of every family in each par- 
ish. If he heard of a black sheep in any flock, he hunted 
him up, talked to him like a father, set him on his feet and 
made him feel himself a man again. He used to relate that 
when he went to the Iroquois village near Montreal,^ he 
watched from the sacristy the Indians, as they stole noise- 
lessly into the church and sat down, the men on one side and 
the women on the other. Though the women's faces were 
hidden by their blankets he could always recognize his aunt, 
by her tall figure and European gait. This was his grand- 
mother's sister, Abigail, daughter of Thomas French of 
Deerfield, taken captive at the age of six, and since lost 
sight of, until now found, among the Saint-Louis Indians, 
where, adopting the language and habits of her captors, she 
lived and died unmarried. On his first visit to Montreal 
after his election, official announcement as usual was made, 
of the Bishop's readiness to receive his friends, and the pub- 
lic generally. His father receiving no special notice of his 
arrival, sent him the following: "My son, I am at home, and 
shall be glad to receive a visit from you, if you wish to see 
me." Remembering a former passage at arms between the 
self-respecting father, and the obedient son, we cannot doubt 
that Plessis was soon welcomed in the bosom of his family. 

On the 2nd of July, 18 19, he sailed for Europe on business 
of importance to the church. He had scarcely left the har- 
bor when a Bull from the Pope arrived naming him Arch- 
bishop of Quebec. 

The journal kept on this tour is extant. He jots down 



simple and loving thoughts of the friends left behind. He 
notices the birds that hover about the islands of the great 
river, and the gambols of the fish about the ship. The 
smoke and noise of Liverpool annoy him, but he is delighted 
with the public institutions of that city. He is especially 
impressed by the tender care and instruction given to the 
blind, and his heart is touched by their singing. He praises 
the smiling landscape, and good roads of England. "For 
two hundred miles, between Liverpool and London, I did 
not see a single rut," he says, but he misses the grand forests 
of his native land. His description of an English inn is cap- 
ital. "The innkeeper and his wife meet you at the door, 
with as good grace as an}^ Lord and Lady would receive their 
guests. That done, they disappear, — leaving you to the dis- 
cretion of an intendant, who takes care of you with an air of 
grandeur and nobility that would do credit to the first gen- 
tleman of England Nothing is spared. All your 

wants are anticipated. Only at your departure, the gentle- 
man opens his hand, and besides the amount of his bill, he 
receives with gratitude the shilling which you give him." He 
does not relish English mutton, but speaks of the fine wool 
of the sheep. He remarks upon the large size of the horses, 
and the dexterity of the coachmen who use long whips, but 
never speak to their horses. He speaks with gratitude of the 
consideration of some English Protestants, with whom he 
travelled, who were careful not to disturb his devotions. He 
expresses admiration and repect for a good old Methodist 
with whom he lodged, — "Must we damn without mercy, those 
who live well, but do not believe?" he says; "No, charity 
forbids this." He believed that sooner or later, in some way, 
these good Protestant brethren would be brought to a knowl- 
edge of the true faith. His trust in the love of God and his 
own great love for his fellow-men, would not permit him to 
think that any could be lost. 


Everywhere in Europe he was treated with distinction, 
George the Fourth in London, Louis the Eighteenth in Paris, 
and Pope Pius the Seventh in Rome, gave him flattering 
audience. Having accomplished his mission he returned to 
Canada, after a year's absence. Landing at Montreal, his 
passage down the river was a triumphal procession. After 
an ovation at Three Rivers, a frenzy of joy greeted his ar- 
rival at Quebec. The whole population turned out to meet 
him. He landed amid the firing of cannon, the clangor of 
bells, the music of the English band, and the shouts of the 
people. The multitude followed him to the cathedral, and 
filled the market place outside, while a Te Dcuni was sung. 
A flock of dove-like nuns fluttered on the mansard of the 
Ursuline convent, watching eagerly from afar the move- 
ments of the crowd, while others in their glad impulse, seiz- 
ing the bell rope of the chapel, rang out a welcome to the 
Holy Father. 

He had long been a sufferer from rheumatism. On the 
4th of December, 1825, after a few days' illness, his busy and 
useful life ended suddenly at the hospital of the Hotel-Dieu. 
On the 7th his body clad in his sacerdotal robes, a mitre on 
his head, a crucifix in his hand, was borne in an open coffin 
through the streets and followed to the Cathedral by an im- 
mense concourse of citizens, — the Governor-General and his 
Council, the Legislative Council, judges of the King's Bench 
and troops of the garrison. All the bells of the city were 
tolled, the shops shut and minute guns fired. A marble in- 
scribed with an elaborate epitaph in Latin, marks his tomb, 
at the left of the altar, in the choir of the Basilica at Quebec, 
His heart in a crystal vase in a leaden box, was carried in 
procession to the church at Saint-Roch. The vault where it 
rests is covered by a mural tablet inscribed in French. 

Lately I w^as present at one of the most imposing cere- 
monials of the Romish church, in the Basilica where Plessis 


was ordained, consecrated; and so long officiated at similar 
solemnities. It was the day, when from two hundred thou- 
sand altars all over the world, prayers arose for all the souls 
in Purgatory. A lofty catafalque, covered with a pall, sym- 
bolic of death, rose at the very entrance. Tall candles in 
silver candlesticks stood at its four corners and hundreds of 
tapers, row upon row ascending, flared and smoked about it. 
From ceiling to floor, the vast cathedral was draped in black 
and white. Its usual splendor was veiled by emblems of 
woe. Pictures and images, crystal chandeliers and silver 
lamps, were shrouded in black. Broad bands of black con- 
cealed the railing of the galleries, and thick folds of the same 
were wound about the pillars. Votive lamps burned be- 
fore all the shrines. Colored lights illumined the recesses 
of the church. Thousands of people with chaplets, knelt in 
prayer that the souls of the dead might be released from the 
torture of Purgatory. From the organ loft came the wail of 
a solemn requiem. Odor of incense was wafted from the far 
away chancel, which was crowded with priests and boys. In 
fancy I saw the great Archbishop there, where he loved best 
to be, in his pontificals, and seated in his chair of state, at- 
tended by his clergy in vestments of black velvet embroid- 
ered with silver. 

Then I thought of Thomas French in his leather apron, 
shaping ploughshares all the day long ; in the evening, 
painfully recording in the town book the events of the every 
day life of the little plantation of which he was a leading 
member ; on Sunday, in his homespun suit, sitting here in 
the deacons' seat below the pulpit, half-hidden from the con- 
gregation by the plain board hanging from the rail in front, 
and serving for a communion table when needed. Children 
and grandchildren watched by his deathbed, and finally, 
kindly hands of mourning neighbors bore him on a bier to 
his rest in the old burial ground. There the sun shines all 


day upon his grave, which is marked by an old red vSandstone 
bearing the simple words, 

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." 

Would it have shocked the old man more I wonder, to 
have known that one of his blood should become the most il- 
lustrious defender of the Roman Catholic faith in Canada, — 
or that a woman of the same stock should stand in this place 
on this anniversary, to ask you to honor this veritable scion 
of the church in Deerfield ? 

Who shall dare affirm or deny that to the drop of New 
England blood in his veins, Joseph-Octave Plessis, owes the 
grandest traits of his character ? 

After all, — what matters it? Neither New England nor 
New France, — Puritan nor Catholic, holds a monopoly of 

Sects perish. Nationalities blend. Character endures. 



"It is not far from New England to old France." One 
rushes by train at night across the fertile meadows of the 
Connecticut and Passumpsic rivers to wake in a wilderness 
of pines and hemlocks, alternating with forests of the more 
delicate larch. So, on to the valley of the Chaudicre, Thence 
winding through picturesque hamlets bearing the names of 
the Virgin, and all the saints in the calendar, — each a daz- 
zling row of stone cottages, built close by the river, with low 
walls and high pitched roofs, whose curved and broadly ov- 
erhanging eaves are supported by brackets. The lofty gable 
ends are shingled and painted yellow, pink or dark red, in 
gay contrast to the white plastered walls. The massive cob- 
blestone chimneys are built up from the ground outside, 
rudely daubed with clay, and encased in wood towards the 
top to protect them from wind and rain. Each cottage has 
its outdoor oven, its long, low barn with numerous bright 
red doors, always open, and barred by wicket gates. Behind 
the buildings the farm slopes gently upward to a high hori- 


zon line, a mile back from the river. While you are looking 
for Evangeline and wondering whether this is Acadia or 
Normandy, you find yourself towards sunset in the midst of 
a French-speaking crowd in the market-place of the Lower 
Town of Quebec, — on the very spot where in 1608 Champlain 
and his companions built their ''Jiabitation' and spent their 
first winter in Canada. 

Above you, to the height of two hundred and fifty feet 
towers the magnificent cliff, so justly termed the Gibraltar 
of America. Clambering into a caleche, you crawl to the top 
by the zigzag road now known as Mountain Street. But you 
go not alone, — for this is holy ground, and your heart beats 
conscious of a procession from the past that silently goes 
with you up the narrow pathway. 

Here is Jacques Cartier, hardy Breton mariner, first of 
white men who trod this winding way ; Champlain, skilful 
seaman, brave soldier, restless, untiring adventurer, — cum- 
bered with much care for the soul of the red man ; and his 
gentle and beautiful young Huguenot wife, so far exceeding 
his efforts for her conversion that she learned to look even 
upon her love for him as disloyalty to God. Here are men- 
dicant friars in gray cloth robes, girt up with knotted cord, 
and naked feet shod in wooden sandals ; black-gowned Jes- 
uits for whom Indian tortures have no terrors, their emaciat- 
ed faces looking more ghastly beneath their looped-up hats ; 
and dark-eyed nuns, whose woe-begone faces, pale and weary 
with weeping and sea-sickness, are yet radiant with unabated 
zeal for their mission. Here, too, are splendid regiments of 
soldiers, whose valor has been proved on many an old world 
battle field ; and a long line of viceroys, governors and in- 
tendants, surrounded by liveried guards and followed by a 
throng of young nobles from the most corrupt of European 
courts gorgeous in lace and ribbons and "majestic in leonine 


Gaining the summit of the rock you look off upon a land- 
scape of incomparable beauty. Below, the noble river with 
white-winged vessels and drifting smoke of many steamers. 
Midway between its banks lies the beauteous island of Or- 
leans like an emerald set in silver. The long, white cote of 
Beauport, with its glittering twin spires, stretches away to- 
ward the gleaming cataract of Montmorenci. Across the 
river, russet fields of waving grain slope in billowy uplands 
to the blue horizon. Far away are the rounded summits of 
the grand old Laurentian mountains, the land first lifted 
above the waste of waters, nucleus of a world as yet unborn. 
Imperial in the splendor of their autumnal robes, wrapped 
about in the purple haze of the September afternoon, tran- 
quil and serene as befits their dignity, solemn and impressive 
in their sublimity, they stand there as they have stood since 
time began. 

Halting on the rampart of this walled town that seems 
like a dream of the middle ages, you hear the muffled drums 
beating the funeral march of a soldier. The Angelus peals 
from the cathedral spire. You listen to the low, sweet 
chanting of cloistered nuns at their vespers. Surely this is 
a bit of old France. 

But again it is not far to New England from Old France, 
for, to the thoughtful student of our colonial history who 
stands for the first time beneath the Lombardy poplars on 
the esplanade at Quebec, especially to one reared under the 
elms of Massachusetts, no place is so near to the impregna- 
ble fortress of the St. Lawrence as the frontier town of Deer- 
field on the Connecticut. Instinctively he peoples the streets 
of the old French city with the shadowy forms of those, who, 
driven from their burning homes on the night of the 29th 
of February, 1703-4, dragged out a miserable captivity on 
this very spot. Yonder, tended by Hospital nuns, Zebediah 
Williams, that pious, hopeful youth, breathed his last. Not 


far away are the dilapidated walls of the Intendant's palace, 
over whose threshold many a New England captive has 
passed. Between this and the Governor's council chamber 
Ensign John Sheldon must have walked daily while besieg- 
ing these officers with petitions for the release of the Deer- 
field captives. 

Here, in this now deserted market-place young Jonathan 
Hoit sat with the vegetables which he was sent to sell in 
the city, when Major Dudley saw him and bought him of 
his Indian master with twenty bright, silver dollars. Facing 
this square were the Jesuit buildings where the Deerfield 
pastor so often dined and argued with the Father Superior ; 
and within sight, stood the Ursuline convent where the little 
New England girls were bribed and beaten by those as pi- 
ously bent on the salvation of their souls as ever was good 
Parson Williams himself. 

With all these names, that of Hertel de Rouville must be 
forever associated. We have hitherto thought of him but as 
a Popish bigot, a leader of murdering savages. It seems to 
me that the time has come when we can afford to honor him 
and his ancestry as we do our own for their patriotic and 
brave defence of their country and their faith. 

In that part of Normandy, known as the Pays de Caux in 
the picturesque town of Fecamps by the sea, lived Nicholas 
Hertel and his wife Jeanne. Early in the seventeenth cen- 
tury we find the name of their son, Jacques Hertel in Can- 
ada, where the rank of a lieutenant gave him the entree to 
the best society. Here he devoted hiinself to the study of 
the Indian language and became known as one of the most 
skilful interpreters. The interpreter was then a man of high 
consideration and authority in intercolonial affairs. His 
position as mediator between the savage and the white man 
required the possession of unusual courage and intelligence. 
Mr. Parkman mentions Hertel as one of the four most fa- 


mous interpreters of New France in the decade following 
1636, and says of the class, "From hatred of restraint and 
love of a wild and adventurous independence they encoun- 
tered privation and dang-ers scarcely less than those to which 
the Jesuit exposed himself from motives widely different, — 
he from religious zeal, charity and the hope of Paradise ; 
they, simply because they liked it. Some of the best fami- 
lies of Canada claim descent from this vigorous and hardy 

On the 23d of August, 1641, Jacques Hertel married at 
Three Rivers, the daughter of Francois Marguerie, another 
of the quartette of renowned interpreters. Three Rivers 
was then a fur-trading hamlet surrounded by a square pali- 
sade. Between it and Montreal, on both shores of the St. 
Lawrence were clearings, marking the sites of future seign- 
iories. Among the early settlers of Three Rivers, are names 
connected with some of the most romantic episodes in the 
history of Canada. 

One of the neighbors of Jacques Hertel and Francois Mar- 
guerie was Christophe Crevier, whose eldest daughter later 
married Pierre Boucher, Governor of Three Rivers. Their 
daughter, when but twelve and a half years of age married 
Rene Gaultier de la Varennes, a lieutenant of the Carignan 
regiment, and became the mother of La Verendrye, the dis- 
coverer of the Rocky Mountains. 

Jacques Hertel, at his death, left two daughters and a son. 
The son, Francois Hertel, was born at Three Rivers about 
1643, and early distinguished himself as a soldier. Charle- 
voix calls him "one of the most valiant warriors of his time." 
A later French writer says, "By his boldness and success he 
deserves to be called the most intrepid champion of New 
France against its eternal enemies, the Iroquois and the col- 
onists of New England." 

One summer afternoon in the year 1661, Frangois Hertel, 


then a youth of eighteen, was made prisoner by the Mo- 
hawks, and with two of his comrades carried to one of their 
towns, where they were cruelly tortured. With his poor, 
mutilated hand the brave boy wrote on birch bark and car- 
tridge wrappers a letter to his mother and two to Father Le 
Moyne, a Jesuit priest, who had been sent a little before to 
Onondaga on a political mission during a truce with the Iro- 
quois.^ In them not one word of complaint of his own suf- 
ferings escapes the heroic youth, but elsewhere he thus 
speaks of his little fourteen years old friend, Antoine Crevier, 
who had been captured with him : "Poor little fellow, I pitied 
him so ! These savages made a slave of him, and then while 
hunting they stuck their knives into him and killed him." 

Hertel's other comrade in misfortune wrote home to Three 
Rivers as follows : "There are three of us Frenchmen here 
who have been tortured together, and while they were tor- 
menting one the other two were permitted to pray to God 
for him, which we did continually; and they let the one 
they were tormenting chant the Litanies of the Virgin or 
the Ave Maria, which he did while the others prayed. The 
savages mocked us and made a great hue and cry when they 
heard us singing, but that did not keep us from doing it. 
They made us dance around a great fire to make us fall into 
it. There were more than forty of them round the fire, and 
they kicked us from one to another like tennis balls, and af- 
ter they had burned us well they put us out in the rain and 
cold, I never felt such dreadful pain, but they only laughed 
at us. We prayed with all our might, and if you ask me 
whether I did not hate the Iroquois who were hurting us so, 

and curse them, I tell you, no, that I prayed for them, 

and I must tell you about Pierre Rencontre whom you knew 
well. He died like a saint. I saw them torture him. He 
never said a word but "My God have pity on me," 

'Mr. Parkman gives us these letters on p. 67 of the Old Regime. 


The youthful captive describes more suffering's endured 
at the hands of the merciless Mohawks, and at the close of 
his letter, as if overwhelmed with the horror of it all, he 
says, "I can't help weeping in saying good-bye." What a 
picture this is of the constancy and fortitude of these lads ! 
The lapse of two centuries cannot deaden our sympathy with 
those distressed mothers at Three Rivers as they read these 
agonizing letters from their beloved boys. 

Thus early did Frangois Hertel begin to deserve the title 
of ''Le Hcros^' by which he is later known in the annals of 
New France. 

On Sept. 2nd, 1664, three years after his captivity among 
the Mohawks, Francois Hertel married at Montreal, Mdlle. 
Marguerite Thauvenet. She had come to Canada with Mad- 
ame de la Peltrie, intending to consecrate herself to the ed- 
ucation of Indian girls, but became betrothed to M. de 
Chambly, a captain in the Carignan regiment, whose seign- 
iory she inherited at his death, becoming later the wife of 
Francois Hertel and the mother of his nine sons. Mr. Ben- 
jamin Suite, an eminent historian of Canada, gives a new 
version of this story in his history of Saint-Francis. He 
says that Marie Thauvenet's sister married Captain de Cham- 
bly and died without children ; that De Chambly was killed 
in the wars with Italy and that his Canadian fief passed to 
his wife's sister's husband, Francois Hertel, who thereupon 
assumed the title of Seigneur de Chambly.' Be this as it 
may, Frangois Hertel's title was Hertel de la Fresniere. 
From his inheritance of the seigniory of Chambly through 
his wife or her sister, he became Sieur de Chambly. I find 
a letter from Francois Hertel, dated at Three Rivers, July 
28, 1666, to the surgeon at Orange, [Albany] thanking him 

'Franfois Hertel's title was Hertel de la Frfesniere. He gave up this to 
take that of "Seigneur de Chambly," and is thereafter known as Hertel de 


for his good treatment while a captive, and regretting that 
another Mohawk invasion has prevented his being sent by 
the governor on an embassy to Albany. He adds: "As for 
news regarding myself I will inform you that I've got mar- 
ried since I was with you, and have a big boy who will soon 
be able to go and see you ; only let him be fourteen or fifteen 
years older than he is now ; that will make him about six- 

On the 28th of March, 1690, we find Francois Hertel lead- 
ing the attack at Salmon Falls^ and performing prodigies 
of valor at Wooster River. He had with him his three 
eldest sons, of whom our Hertel de Rouville was the third. 
He was also accompanied by his nephew, Louis Crevier, (the 
son of his sister Marguerite,) and by Nicolas Gatineau, son 
of Marie Crevier. These were all gallant and spirited young 

Retreating to the Kennebec, he left his eldest son, Hertel 
de la Fresniere, who had been severely wounded in the ac- 
tion, among the Abenakis, and joining a war party under 
Portneuf, whose soldiers clamored to be led by Hertel, he 
shared in the triumph at Fort Loyal on Casco Bay. 

We get an interesting glimpse of Hertel's home life at this 
period. One little daughter had been born to him to whose 
education the pious mother devoted herself, although, says 
the Ursuline Superior who tells the tale, "She did not neglect 
her nine sons, as is proved by the fact that though they were 
somewhat gay and tremendously brave, they made it a prin- 
ciple to be as faithful to God as to their king." While the 
husband was fighting for the king at Salmon Falls, his wife 
was presenting their little ten years old girl for her first 
communion. This was the first step in a remarkable relig- 
ious career in which the daughter of "The Hero" "displayed 

'According to some writers this attack on Salmon Falls was led by Hertel 
de Rouville, son of Fran9ois Hertel, 


the same heroism which her father had shown on the field 
of battle." 

From the time of her first communion, Marie Fran(;.oise 
Hertel's life was regulated by herself with the sole view to 
her eternal salvation. She showed thereafter no looseness, 
idleness nor inconstancy in her tasks at the pension. Delight- 
ed with her progress, her parents took her home intending 
to arrange for her a marriage suitable to their position, but 
her heart was fixed on becoming a nun. Though this was a 
great disappointment to her father, who had counted upon 
her companionship in his declining years, he loved her so 
tenderly that he would not sadden her by remonstrating 
against her chosen vocation, and rarely spoke to her on the 
subject. Her brother, De Rouville, however, was not so 
considerate. He importuned her incessantly to marry one 
of his companions in arms who was greatly admired by all. 
"What nonsense in you, Fanchette," he would say, "at your 
age to think of shutting yourself up in a convent. Leave 
your place among the Ursuline sisters to some old maid 
whom nobody wants, and who is good for nothing but to say 
her prayers. Why need you put yourself behind a grating 
to serve God? Look at our mother. Isn't she a good, true 
Christian ?" 

All this did not prevent the young religicnse from fulfilling 
her intention. In September, 1700, she became a novice un- 
der the name of Soeur Marie Frangoise de Saint-Exupere, 
taking the white veil, in the convent then newly founded in 
her native town. 

When in 171 3 it became necessary to elect a Mother Su- 
perior for the convent at Three Rivers, the minds of all his 
friends and neighbors naturally turned to the daughter of 
"The Hero." The matter being decided otherwise by the 
Ursulines at Quebec, a crowd of his tenants, who believed that 
everything belonging to the name of Hertel must of neces- 


sity hold the highest position, assembled at the convent doors 
showering invectives upon the authorities at Quebec. The 
uproar reached such a height that poor little Sister St. Exu- 
pere was driven by her humility to leave her native town 
and seek entrance to the Ursuline convent at Quebec, where 
she took at once the black veil. There on the 4th of March, 
1 770, she died at the advanced age of ninety, after a retirement 
from the world of seventy-one years, which she spent in ac- 
tive service for the church, showing an especial aptitude for 
teaching young girls. 

"About this time," says Mr. Parkman, "Canada became in- 
fatuated with noblesse Merchant and seignior vied 

with each other for the quality oi geiitiUiouinic 'Every- 
body here,' writes the Intendant Meules, 'calls himself es- 
quire and ends with thinking himself a gentleman.' " The 
exploits of Frangois Hertel entitled him to letters of nobility 
from his king. These, according to Canadian Archives, 
though promised in 1690, were not granted till a quarter 
of a century later. 

In 171 2, probably despairing of a proper recognition of his 
services, and ambitious for his sons, Frangois Hertel, wrote 
a memorial recapitulating their military exploits. In this 
he sets forth in detail the expedition of his third son, Hertel 
de Rouville, to Deerfield.^ 

The following extracts are literally translated : 

"The Sieur Hertel is 76 years old.^ He has ten sons all in 

the troops The Sieur Hertel pere began to bear arms in 

'Canadian Ant. and Num. Journal, July, i88g. Interesting as a cotempo- 
rary statement of important events by a conspicuous actor therein. It is a draft 
by "The Hero" of a record of his services, to be sent to the liing, with correc- 
tions partly by himself and partly by some other hand. Its antiquity is un- 
questionable. Invaluable as authority on the details of the expeditions against 
New England in 1690 and 1703-4. 

^Changed to "70," this fi.xes the date of this document as 1712. as Hertel 
was born in 1642. 


1657, in the beginning of the war against the Iroquois. He was 
wounded and made prisoner by these Savages in 1659, and was about 
two years a slave among them. He is maimed in one hand by the 

bad treatment of these barbarians 

In all the wars there has been no party or expedition in which 
the father or some of his children have not been. M. the governor 
general in 1703' honored the Sieur de rouville^ with the com- 
mand of a party of 200 men among the number of whom were three 
of his brothers. He took by storm at daybreak the fort^ guerfil* 
where there were a hundred and twenty-seven armed men. He 
killed in this assault, and in a combat which he sustained while re- 
treating with his rear-guard of thirty men. against more than a hun- 
dred, one hundred and fifty persons, took one hundred and seventy 
prisoners, his lieutenant was killed and eleven others of his men. 
He was wounded and twenty-two others, among which number 
were three officers and one of his brothers who was serving as ad- 

The long-deferred patent of nobility was granted to Fran- 
cois Hertel in April, 17 16, he being then seventy-four years 
old. It appears in Canadian Archives as follows : 


"Services which the Seignieur Hertel Lieutenant of our troops in 
Canada has rendered to the late King, in the different expe- 
ditions in which he has been against the savages, have led us to 
give him proof of our satisfaction, which may descend to his poster- 
ity. We resolve upon this the more willingly, as the valor of the 
father is hereditary in his children, two of whom have been killed 
in the service, and the seven others who still serve in our troops in 
Canada and Isle Royale, have given on all occasions proofs of their 
good conduct and bravery. And since the father and his children 

'Changed to "1704." "'His third son." 

^"Of." ^"Deerfield." 


Still continue to serve us, with the same zeal and the same affection, 
we have been pleased to grant to the head of this family our letters 
of nobility " 

We find Francois Hertel until his death constantly em- 
ployed in the service of his government : a man useful in 
its councils and idolized by the whole colony. Charlevoix, 
who saw him at the age of eighty full of health and strength 
says that "All the colony bore witness to his virtue and his 

The head of the younger branch of Francois Hertel's fam- 
ily was Jean Baptiste Hertel de Rouville, so intimately con- 
nected with the history of New England. 

He was the third "big boy" that rejoiced the heart of his 
youthful father and was probably born about 1668. His fa- 
ther procured for him a grant of land on the river Chambly 
near his own seigniory, which, it will be remembered, came 
into his possession through a romantic episode in the life of 
his wife, Marguerite de Thauvenet. Embracing, as did all 
his brothers, a soldier's career, "he became," says the Cana- 
dian Chronicler, "the rival of all those intrepid warriors 
who made the English colonies repent of their unjust at- 
tacks." He held the rank of lieutenant, and was accompan- 
ied in his expedition against Deerfield by three of his broth- 
ers. For his exploits on that occasion he was recommended 
for promotion by De Vaudreuil in a letter to the Minister as 
follows : 

"Quebec, i6th pber 1704. 

I had the honor to write to you, My Lord, and to 

inform you of the success of a party I sent this winter on the ice as 
far as the Boston government^ at the request of the Abenakis In- 
dians whom the English attacked since Sieur de Beaubassin's return 
last autumn, and at the same time took the liberty to speak to you 
of Sieur de Rouville who commanded on that occasion : he desires, 

'Deerfield. ♦ 


My Lord, that you would have the goodness to think of his pro- 
motion, having been invariably, in all the expeditions that present- 
ed themselves, and being still actually with the Abenakis 

Sieur de Rouville's party. My Lord, has accomplished everything 
expected of it, for independent of the capture of a fort,^ it showed 
the Abenakis that they could truly rely on our promises, and this is 
what they told me at Montreal on the 13th of June when they came 
to thank me."^ 

"At a meeting of the Commissioners for managing the Indian af- 
fairs at Albany the 21 of June, 1709. Intelligence given by an In- 
dian called Ticonnondadiha, deserted from a French party gone to 
New England, says that it is now 24 days ago since that party went 
out from Canada w*^"^ he left three days ago at the head of the Otter 
Creek at a place called Oneyade; and to goe over a long carrying 
place before they came to the New England river. This party con- 
sists of 180 men, 40 Christians and 140 Indians; they are designed 
for Dearfeild and intended to post themselfes near the fort and then 
send out a skulking party to draw out the English, thinking by that 
meanes to take the place. That by another Indian come latter 
from Canada, confirms that this party is out, and that two New 
England captives deserted from thence 14 dayes ago. Albany 22th 
June 1709. Hereupon the Com" for the Indian affairs have sent 
Dan' Ketelhuyn expresse with a letter to Col. Partridge to give an 
acc'^ thereof."^ 

The origin of this expedition was as follows : Having been 
worsted in an attack by the English under Captain Wright,* 
"a party of Indians," says De Vaudreuil, "feeling piqued, 
asked me to let them go on an excursion with some fifty of 
the most active Frenchmen, and to allow the Sieur de Rou- 


*M. de Vaudreuil to M. de Pontchartrain. N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IX, p. 

3N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. 5, p. 86. 

*See Capt. Benjamin Wright's narrative in Sheldon's Hist, of Deerfield, Vol, 
I, p. 369. 


ville and another to command. I immediately assented 

the force went to Guerrefille [Deerfield] where, having- pre- 
pared an ambush they caught two alive. ^ 

Hertel de Rouville appears to have made many little "ex- 
cursions" of this sort into New England and New York. 
On the 29th of August, 1708, he commanded the attack on 
Haverhill. Here his brother, Hertel de Chambly, and Louis 
de Vercheres, the friend whom he had ardently desired as 
his brother-in-law, were slain. 

Joseph Bradley, the same who accompanied John Sheldon 
to Canada,^ secured the medicine chest and packs of the par- 
ty which they had thrown aside on going into battle and had 
not time to gather up in their hasty retreat with their cap- 

De Rouville was sent by the governor on an important 
embassy to Boston, Of this De Vaudreuil writes to Pont- 
chartrain that he "had been fortunate in his choice of two 
officers, the most capable of all Canada of reconnoitring a 
country which at any moment they might be called upon to 

Amidst his severer duties De Rouville found time to mar- 
ry twice. By his second wife he had five children. The 
names of his daughters appear on the convent lists of pupils, 
and in their records the holy sisters mention with pride 
Hertel de Rouville and his brothers as defenders of the 
church. He was finally sent to Cape Breton where he spent 
some years, and died June 30th, 1722, at Fort Dauphin, of 
which he was commandant. Among the prisoners huddled 

'These two were Joseph Clesson and John Arms. The latter was wound- 
ed twice before allowing himself to be taken. De Rouville's approach being 
discovered it is probable that the townsfolk, many of whom had but lately re- 
turned from Canadian captivity, courageously pursued and compelled the ene- 
my to retreat. 

^See ante. 


together in Ensign John Sheldon's house in Deerfield on 
that dreadful night in February, 1703-4, waiting with her 
weeping children, grandchildren and neighbors, the order 
to march into captivity, was Mary Baldwin Catlin, wife of 
Mr. John Catlin. A wounded French officer was brought in 
and laid upon the floor. In his agony he called piteously 
for water. Mrs. Catlin raised his head and tenderly moistened 
his fevered lips. Reproached by a neighbor for this kindness 
to their enemy, she answered, "If thine enemy hunger feed 
him; if he thirst, give him drink." When the captives were 
ofathered too^ether for the march Mrs. Catlin was left behind, 


— tradition says in return for her compassion. One touch of 
nature makes the whole world kin. I like to think that the 
wounded officer may have been Hertel de Rouville's young 
brother, and that that humane act, distilled through the 
blood of succeeding generations, has inspired me with the 
wish to present the Hertels in a more favorable light than 
that in which we of New England are accustomed to view 

The Canadian heroine, Madeleine de Vercheres, at the 
age of fourteen, defended her father's house for a week 
against the Iroquois, while he was on duty at Quebec. Put- 
ting a gun into the hands of her younger brother she said, 
"Remember that our father has taught you that gentlemen 
must be ready to shed their blood if need be in the service 
of their God and their king."^ 

In our estimate of the character of Jean Baptiste Hertel 
de Rouville, we must not forget that this was the creed on 
which he was nurtured. 

'This younger De Vercheres became later a prisoner of war in Boston; was 
the subject of much negotiation for exchange. He appears in our Archives as 
"Boverey de Vorshay." 



"In 1657," says Mr. Parkman, "the association of pious en- 
thusiasts who had founded Montreal, was reduced to a rem- 
nant of five or six persons, whose ebbing zeal and overtaxed 
purses were no longer equal to the devout but arduous en- 
terprise. They begged the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice to 
take it off their hands. The priests consented, and though 
the conveyance of the island of Montreal to these, its new 
proprietors, did not take effect till some years later, four of 
the Sulpitian fathers came out to the colony and took it in 

Thus far, Canada had had no bishop, and the Sulpitians 
now aspired to give it one from their own brotherhood. This 
roused the jealousy of the Jesuits, who, for thirty years had 
borne the heat and burden of the day, — the toils, privations 
and martyrdoms, while as yet the Sulpitians had done noth- 
ing and endured nothing; — and under the leadership of the 
great Laval, the long quarrel between the two orders began." 
It ended in the triumph of Laval and the Jesuits. 


From the earliest period of their history, the labors of the 
three religious communities. — Sulpitian priests, nuns of the 
Congregation de Notre-Dame, and Hospital nuns, have sup- 
plemented each other: the Seminary priests serving as 
teachers of the boys and as directors and chaplains of the 
other two orders ; the Congregation nuns teaching the girls; 
and the Hospital nuns doing duty as nurses to them all. 

The most pious friendship unites the three orders, and 
together they are regarded in the eyes of the people of Mon- 
treal as an image and embodiment of the Holy Family, Jesus, 
Mary and Joseph. 


In 1690 or 91, M. Henri-Antoine de Meriel of Meulan in 
the Diocese of Chartres, France, was sent by M. Tronson, 
Superior-General of the Sulpitian Order in Canada, to succeed 
M. Barthelemy as chaplain at the Hotel-Dieu in Montreal. 

At the age of thirty, M. Meriel bade farewell to riches, 
honors and the congenial associations of his native land, to 
devote himself to the poor and unfortunate. 

Though his birth, education and talents made him a lead- 
ing spirit in the best society of New^ France, his life was one 
of arduous labor and self-sacrifice. In addition to his duties 
at the Hotel-Dieu he ministered with great success to the 
parish of Notre-Dame in Montreal, and was director and con- 
fessor to the pupils of the Sisters of the Congregation. 

On Canadian records. Father Meriel is everywhere pres- 
ent as a part of the personal history of the New England 
captives, and to those familiar with their story, the priest's 
name is as well known as that of the Puritan preacher, Rev. 
John Williams. The latter found in him a foeman worthy 
of his steel. 

To Father Meriel's knowledge of the English language, 
and his facility in its use, an accomplishment rare at that 


time in Canada, we owe the marvellously exact records by 
which we are able to identify so many of our captives.^ 
The name, age, parentage, the date and place of capture, are 
given with minute detail, in his exquisite handwriting, which 
is like an oasis in the desert to one groping among the dry 
and almost illegible records of two hundred years ago. 

By his ability and zeal, many were converted to the Rom- 
ish church. Not content with devoting himself soul and 
body to this work, he spent his patrimony in the cause. 

Shortly before his death the Intendant and the Governor- 
General wrote to the home government asking that in con- 
sideration of his services he might be re-imbursed by the 

The French minister replied as follows : 

"His Majesty has been informed that M. Meriel, priest at 
Montreal, has spent his fortune on the conversion of the 
English of the colony, and that he is so impoverished as to 
be unable to continue the good work. 

As His Majesty is very glad to give him proof of his sat- 
isfaction with his zeal, he desires M. M. de Vaudreuil and 
Begon to inform him how much money they think should 
be annually awarded to M. Meriel." 

Father Meriel could not profit by the good intentions of 
his sovereign. He died in the odor of sanctity while minis- 
tering to the sick at the Hotel-Dieu, on the 12th of January, 
171 3, at the age of fifty-two. 


One of the fruits of Father Meriel's labors among the cap- 
tives was Mary (Adelaide) Silver. She was the eldest child 
of Thomas Silver of Newbury, Mass., and his wife Mary Wil- 

'See Appendix for an English letter by Father Meriel. 


Thomas Silver died in 1695, and his widow married Cap- 
tain Simon Wainwright. 

On the 29th of August, 1708, [vSept. 9, N. s.] a party of 
French and Indians attacked Haverhill, Mass., then a village 
of about thirty houses, with a meeting-house and a picketed 
fort or garrison house. The following account is by Joseph 
Bartlett, a soldier in the garrison house under Capt. Wain- 
wright ■} 

"In the year 1707, in November, I, Joseph Bartletl was pressed, 
and sent to Haverhill. My quarters were at the house of a captain 
Waindret. August 29, 1708, there came about 160 French and 50 
Indians, and beset the town of Haverhill — set fire to several houses; 
among which was that of captain Waindret. The family at this time 
were all reposing in sleep; but Mrs. Waindret waking, came and 
awaked and told me that the Indians had come. I was in bed in a 
chamber, having my gun and ammunition by my bed-side. I arose, 
put on my small clothes, took my gun, and looking out at a win- 
dow, saw a company of the enemy lying upon the ground just before 
the house, with their guns presented at the windows, that on dis- 
covering any person they might fire at them. I put my gun to the 
window very still, and shot down upon them, and bowed down un- 
der the window; at which they fired, but I received no harm. I 
went into the other chamber, in which was Mrs. Waindret, who told 
me we had better call for quarter or we should all be burnt alive. I 
told her we had better not; fori had shot, and beheved I had killed 
half a dozen, and thought we should soon have help. 

After reloading my gun, I was again preparing for its discharge, 
when I met with a Mr. Newmarsh, who was a soldier in that place. 

He questioned me I answered that I was going to shoot. He 

told me if I did shoot, we should all be killed, as captain Waindret 

had asked for quarter, and was gone to open the door He 

said we must go and call for quarter; and, setting our guns in the 
chamber chimney, we went down and asked for quarters. 

'See Appendix to History of Newburyport. 


The entry was filled with the enemy, who took and bound us, and 
plundered the house. 

They killed no one but captain Waindret. When they had done 
plundering the house, they inarched off, and at no great distance 
coming into a body, I had a good view of them, so that I could give 
a pretty correct account of their number expecting to escape." 

A rare volume, entitled "Incidents in the Early History 
of New England," gives substantially the following account 
of the attack on Haverhill : 

"One party rifled and burned Mr. Silver's house. Another at- 
tacked the garrison house of Capt. Samuel Wainwright,i killing him 
at the first fire. To the surprise of the garrison who were bravely 
preparing to resist, Mrs. Wainwright herself unbarred the door," 
spoke kindly to the enemy as they entered, served them and offered 
to get for them whatever they wanted. The invaders, bewildered 
by this unexpected reception, demanded money. Promising to get 
it, Mrs. Wainwright left the room, and fled from the house, "with 
all of her children, except one daughter who was taken captive, and 
was not afterwards discovered."- 

The rage of the enemy on discovering that they had been 
duped by a woman, may be imagined. They attacked the 
garrison with great violence, at the same time attempting to 
fire the house. They were forced to retreat with three cap- 
tives, one of whom was Joseph Bartlett, quoted above, — an- 
other was Mrs. Wainwright's daughter by her first marriage, 
Mary Silver, then about fourteen years old. The route of 
the captives may be traced by Bartlett's narrative. In Feb- 
ruary he became the servant of a rich Frenchman afflicted 
with gout. In his leisure moments he "Wrought at shoe- 
making." He describes his religious experiences in Canada, 
with charming naivete. His mistress asked him why he did 
not "attend meeting." "I answered that I could not under- 

'Simon Wainwright. 

'^Discovered by the author in 1893, on Canadian records. 


stand what they said. She said she could not. I asked her 
what she went for. She answered, to say her prayers." 

In his quaint New England dialect he gives us this glimpse 
of Father Men' el's work among the captives : 

"On my coming to reside with the French, Mr. Meriel, a French 
priest, came and brought me an English bible. As I sat at shoe- 
making, he came and sat down beside me, and questioned me con- 
cerning my health, and whether I had been to their meetings. 1 
told him I had not. On his asking the cause I answered (as I had 
done before) that I could not understand what they said. He said 
he wished to have me come and witness their carryings on. I told 
him it was not worth my while. But he was very earnest that I 
should come to his meeting; and advised me to try all things, hold- 
ing fast that which is good. Who knows, said he, but that God 
hath sent you here to know the true way of worship. 1 told him I 
believed ours was the right way. Says he we hold to nothing but 
what we can prove by your own Bible. After considerable conver- 
sation I told him 1 did not know but that 1 should come to their 
meetings and see how they carried on : which after a little while I 
did. Now in their meeting-house there stood a large stone pot of 
their holy water, into which everyone that came in dipped their 
finger making a sign of a cross, putting their fingers first to their 
foreheads, then to their stomachs, afterwards to their left shoulder, 
then to their right shoulder, saying, 'Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 
— amen,' and kneeling down, they say a short prayer to themselves. 
They have pulpits in their houses for public worship; in which the 
priests sometimes preach. 

After a short time the priest came again to visit me, and asked 
me how I liked their manner of worship. I told him it seemed 
strange to me. He said this was generally the case at first, but af- 
ter a while it would appear otherwise." 

The simple cobbler at his last, disputing doctrines with 
the educated priest, is an interesting picture of the sttirdy 
New England character. Bartlett gives us much more of 
his theological discussion with Father Meriel, — but the 


priest's efforts to convert him were unavailing. Bartlett 
was redeemed and returned to Newbury after a captivity of 
four years, two months and nine days. 

On arriving at Montreal Mary Silver was probably given 
at once in charge of the "Sisters of the Congregation." Her 
name appears in our Archives on a "Roll of English Prison- 
ers in the hands of the French and Indians at Canada Given 
to Mr. Vaudruille's Messengers," dated 1710-11.^ This roll 
was probably sent to Canada by the French officers who had 
come to Albany with Dutch prisoners, bringing also John 
Arms of Deerfield to exchange for Sieur de Vercheres, who 
had been taken prisoner in the attack on Haverhill.^ 

In Canada the usual agitation follows this demand of our 
Government for the return of the captives. The records 
are teeming with their baptism and marriage. Here is one: 

"On Sunday, the 2nd of February 17 10, the rite of baptism was 
administered by me the undersigned priest, to an English girl named 
Mary Silver, who born at Haverhill in New England on Wednesday, 
March loth, 1694, [28 Feb. 1693-4] of the marriage of Thomas Sil- 
ver, deceased, and Dame Mary Williams now Widow, by her second 
marriage, of Mr. Simon Wainwright, Judge, Captain and Command- 
ant of the said place ; which girl having been captured on Sunday, 
the 9th of September, 1708, by Monsieur Contrecoeur Esquire, 
officer in the troops of Canada, and brought to this country, lives 
as a pupil in the house of the Soeurs de la Congregation de Notre- 
Uame, at Villemarie. 

Her godfather was the High and Mighty Seigneur Messire Phil- 
ippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, Chevalier of the military or- 
der of Saint-Louis, and Governor General of New France ; her god- 
mother, Madame Charlotte Denis, wife of M. Claude de Ramezay, 
Chevalier of the order of Saint-Louis, Seignieur de Lageste Bois- 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 71, p. 760. 

'^See Sheldon's Hist, of Deerfield, Vol. I, p. 373, et seq. See Appendix. 


fleurant, and Governor of the Island of Montreal and its depend- 
encies, — all of whom signed with me according to the ordinance." 

The atitographs of Mary Silver, her godparents, and Fa- 
ther Meriel follow. 

She was probably confirmed soon after her baptism. The 
precise date is unknown, as no records of this rite were then 
kept. As it was the custom at confirmation to add another 
name to that given at baptism, she then received the name 
of Adelaide. Thenceforth, on Canadian records, she appears 
as Adelaide Silver. 

Her Puritan mother, distressed by the rumor that her 
child was about to become a Romanist, addressed to the 
General Court the following petition :^ 

"Haverhill, April 29. 1710 
To His Excellency Joseph Dudley Esq 

Capt Generall and Governor in Chief, and to y'' Honorable Coun- 
cil and General Assembly Now Mett the petition of Widow Mary 
Wainwright humbly showeth that Whereas my Daughter hath been 
for a long time in Captivity with y*^ French in Canada and I have 
late reason to fear that her soul is in great Dainger if not all redy 
captivated and she brought to their ways theirefore I would humbly 
Intreat your Excelency that some care may be taken for her Re- 
demption before Canada be so Endeared to her that I shall never 
have my Daughter any more ; Some are ready to say that there are 
so few captives in Canada that it is not worth while to poot y*^ Cun- 
try to ye charges to send for them but I hoope your Excelency no [r] 
No other Judichous men will thinck so for St. James hath Instructed 
us as you may see Chap. 5 v 20 Let him know that he which con- 
verteth the sinner from the errour of his way, shall save a soul from 
Death and shall hide a multitude of sins this is all I can do at 
present but I desire humbly to Begg of God that he would Direct 
the hearts of our Rulers to do that which may be most for his Glory 

'Mass. Archives. Vol. 105, p. 59. 


and for the good of his poor Distressed Creatures and so I take leave 
to subscribe myself your most Humble petitioner 

Mary Wainwright Widow 
In the House of Representatives June 9. 17 10. 
Read y" 12"' read and recomended 

In Council 
June 12. 1710 Read & concurred in." 

This petition was of no avail. It was not long before her 
friends in New England learned that Mary (Adelaide) Silver 
had made ptiblic abjuration of the Protestant faith, and be- 
fore the close of the year 17 10 in her eighteenth year she 
entered the convent of the "Hospital Nuns of St. Joseph," 
usuall}^ known as the ''Soem-s dc V Hotcl-Dicu:' Her deser- 
tion of the convent in which she had been protected and ed- 
ucated, to enter a different order, seems strange and capri- 
cious. It is, however, explained by the fact that she pre- 
ferred the duties of a nurse to those of a teacher. 

Teaching is the vocation of the Sisters of the Congrega- 
tion ; nursing, that of the nuns of the Hotel-Dieu. Froin the 
earliest period of their history in Canada the two orders 
have been closely united in affection and intercourse, so that 
to use their own words they have always regarded them- 
selves as one and the same community. 

In the early days, the two convents were near neighbors, 
their court yards adjoining, and they made each other fre- 
quent visits. The nuns of both convents love to tell how in 
the olden time, they used to sit at sunset on their respective 
balconies, responding to each other with hymns and canticles 
of gratitude and of pious joy.^ 

The New England girl of to-day will find it hard to under- 
stand how a young girl, free to choose, should have elected 
the arduous duties of a nurse in a cloister in preference to 
the more agreeable occupation of teaching, with greater 

^"Cantiqzies de reconnaissance, et de pieuse allegresse.'' 


freedom and variety in her life. It is evident that her train- 
ing and surroundings, at the most impressible period of a 
young girl's life, had made of her a devotee. 

At the Hotel-Dieu she came again under the influence of 
Father Meriel. 

The treaty of Utrecht in 171 3, while stipulating for a gen- 
eral exchange of prisoners, included a clause whereby the 
English converted to Catholicism during their captivity 
should have entire liberty to remain in Canada. This ap- 
parent freedom of will was greatly hampered by their train- 
ing and naturalization in Canada, and comparatively few 
converts returned to New England. Mary Adelaide Sil- 
ver's mother wrote entreating her to return, and sent money 
with an urgent appeal to the Governor of Canada, to send 
her home. 

"But," says the annalist of the convent, "the generous girl 
preferring the treasures of the faith to all worldly advan- 
tages replied to the Governor as follows : 'Monsieur, I ten- 
derly love my dear mother, but before everything, I am 
bound to obey God, and I declare to you that I am resolved 
to live in the holy religion which I have embraced, and to 
die a nun of vSaint-Joseph. My dearest wish is, that before 
my death, I may see my mother embrace the hol}^ Catholic 
faith, with the light of which it has pleased God to enlight- 
en me.' " 

Mary Adelaide Silver adhered to her resolution to remain 
in Canada. Her zeal was as fervent, her industry as untir- 
ing as that of Father Meriel. At his death she took his place 
as catechist and apostle to the captives. After thirty years 
of convent life, she died at the Hotel-Dieu on the 2nd of 
April, 1740. Two days later she was buried in the vault of 
the old convent church, then standing at the corner of St. 
Paul and St. Sulpice streets in Montreal. 

In i860, those there interred were removed to the crypt of 


the church of the new convent on the Avenue des Pins, 
where the mortal remains of Mary Adelaide Silver now 




Grizel [or Grizet] Warren, wife of Richard Otis of Dover, 
N. H., was captured in the attack on that town, June 28, 1689, 
with her infant Margaret, and two older children. In Rev. 
John Williams's "Redeemed Captive," Grizel Otis figures 
as "Madam Grizalem." Captured earlier than those of Deer- 
field and other towns, she seems to have become reconciled 
to her fate before their arrival in Canada, and to have be- 
friended them, while serving as a valuable assistant to Fa- 
ther Meriel in his ministrations among them. 

The following is a copy, verbatim et literatim of the record 
of her baptism in Canada. Evidently ''avec trois de ses en- 
fants' is omitted before "-duqucr' &c. : 

"Z^ Samedi neuvieme jour de Mai veille de la Pentecote de Van 
mil six cents quatre vingts treise a ete solenellement haUse'e une 
femme Angloise cy-devant nommee Madame Kresek Laquelle nee 
a Barwic en la Nouvelle Angleterre le vingt quatrieme jour de 
Fevrier [vieux stile ou 6 mars nouveau stile"\ de Van mil six cens 
soixante et deux du mariage de Jacques War en Ecossois Protestant 
et de Marguerite Irlandoise Catholique et mariee a defunt Richard 


Otheys Habitant de Douvres en la Noxivelle Angleterre ayant Hd 
prise en guerre le mngthnitihne jour de Juin de Van mil six cens 
quatre-vingt neuf {duquel ne lui est reste quune petite Jille agde 
de quatre ans comme etant nde lel5 Mars 1689) nommee anhatC^me 
Christine aiant etc prise en guerre le vingt huitihne jour de Juin 
vieux stile \ou 8 Juillet nouveau stile\ de Van mil six cens quatre 
mngts neuf demeure au service de Monsieur de Maricour. Elle 
a l'Ic nominee Mai'ie- Madeleine. Son Pai^rein a etc Monsieur 
Jaques Le Ber Marchand. Sa marraine. Dame Marie- Mad elaine 
Dupont e'pouse de Monsieur le moine Ecuyer Sieur de Maricour., 
Capitaine de dctachement de la Marine 

[Signed'] Le Ber. 

Fran : D oilier de Casson., Gr. vie. 

M. M. DupontP 

Marie-Madeleine Hotesse is on a list of persons confirmed 
Sept. 8, 1693. 

The following is an exact copy of the record of her mar- 
riage in Canada : 

"Z'aw de grace mil six cent nonante et trois le quinzicme d^ Oc- 
tobre aprcs les fian^ailles et la pulMcaon d'un hanfaite en la grand 
Messe d''onzicniejour dud mois et an^ d''entre8 l^liilipe Rolntaille 
jlls de Jean Rolntaille et d"* Marline Cormon ses pcre et mere de la 
Paroisse de Bronroux en Artois et Marie Madeleine oiiaren veuve 
de de'funt Richard Otheys habitant de Douvres en la Nouvelle- 
Angletei're tous deux de ce paroiffe Monsieur Dollier grand vi- 
caii'e [illegible] ayant donne la despense des deux autres bans et 
ne sVtant de'couveH aucune empech"'^ M. Meriel pretre du 
consentement de moi soussigne' curd de la paroiffe de Yille-marie 
les a marine selon la forme prcscrite par la Ste Eglise en presence 
de Charles Le Moyne Ecuyer Sieur de Maricour capitaine rdforme 
dans les troupes de la marine qui sont present de Dame Marie 
Madeleine Dupont son t^pouse., de Monsieur Jaques Le Ber Mar- 
chand de M'' forestier et plusieurs autres amies.'''' 


Philippe Robitaille, son of the above, was baptized in Mon- 
treal, Feb. 5, 1695. 

On a list of persons to whom naturalization is granted in 

May, 1 710, are : 

"Mag^"*' Ooarin Englishwoman, married to Philippe Robitaille 
cooper, estabUshed at Ville-Marie, by whom she has four children." 

"Christine Otis, Englishwoman, brought with her mother to Can- 
ada, married to Louis Le Beau, carpenter established at Ville-Marie." 



Note. Capt. Phineas Stevens was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts, 
whence his father removed to Rutland, Vt. At the age of sixteen 
he was carried captive to Canada. On his return he settled in what 
is now Charlestown, N. H., then known as "Number Four." 

He was an active partisan officer during the French and Indian 
war, and died in public service in 1756. He was often employed by 
the Massachusetts Government as ambassador to Canada for the ex- 
change of captives. His name appears frequently in our Archives. 

Note. Major Nathaniel Wheelwright, son of Colonel John, grand- 
son of Colonel Samuel, and greatgrandson of the celebrated Rever- 
end John Wheelwright, was born in Boston in 1721. He married 
there in 1755, the daughter of Charles Apthorp, his distinguished 

Major Wheelwright was a merchant and banker of Boston and 
London. His character and his social position gave him great in- 
fluence in public affairs, and he was employed by the Massachusetts 
government in diplomatic positions, requiring tact, judgment and 
personal dignity. He served twice at least as ambassador from New 
England to Canada for the redemption of captives taken in the old 
French and Indian wars. Major Wheelwright died in 1766, on the 
island of Guadaloupe.' 

'To the generosity of a collateral relative, Mr. Edmund M. Wheelwright of 
Boston, I am greatly indebted, especially for the interesting pictures of Esther 
Wheelwright and her handiwork that appear in this volume. 


In the summer of 1752, Phineas Stevens and Major Na- 
thaniel Wheelwright, (nephew of the captive Esther Wheel- 
wright,) were sent to Canada by our government, to demand 
the rendition of New England captives. The history of their 

embassy appears in the records as follows : 

"Jan. 30, 1752 

In the House of Representatives it was Voted that his Honour 
the Lieut. Governor with advice of the Council be desired to take 
speedy and effectual Care for the Redemption of the Captives now 
in Canada at the charge of the Government."^ 

"At a Council held at Harvard College in Cambridge upon Fri- 
day the third of April 1752, sitting the General Court. It was Ad- 
vised that his Hon'': the Lieutenant Gov\- appoint Capt. Phineas 
Stevens & Mr Nathaniel Wheelwright to negotiate the affair of Re- 
deeming the Captives in Canada in pursuance of a vote of the Gen- 
eral Court pass'd the 29th of January last, and that His Honour di- 
rect them to proceed to (Canada with his Despatches as soon as the 
Season of the Year will permit.'"- 

"At a Meeting of a Number of the members of Her Majesty's 
Council held at the Court House in Charlestown, April 17, 1752, It 
was advised and consented that a warrant be made out to the Treas- 
urer to pay unto John Wheelwright Esq. for the Use of the Gentle- 
men going to Canada in the Service of the Government : the sum of 
ninety Pounds towards the defraying their charges on the affair, 
they to be accountable therefor at their Return. The Secretary 
laid before the Council the Draught of a Letter his Honour proposed 
to send to the Governor of Canada for demanding the Release of 
the captives. Which letters being considered were advised by the 
Council. The Secretary also laid before the Council a Draught of 
Instructions His Honour proposed to give to the Gentlemen going 
to Canada on the affair of the Captives, to which the Council ad- 

'Mass. General Court Records, 1749-1753, p. 426. 
■■'Mass. Council Records, I747-I755. Vol. 12, p. 253. 
'Mass. Council Records, Vol. 12. 


"At a Council held at the Court House in Concord upon Thurs- 
day the Fourth of June, 1752 it was Advised and Consented that a 
Warrant be made out to the Treasurer to pay to Jacob Wendell 
Esq'' the Sum of Fifty Four Pounds six shillings to discharge a Bill 
of Exchange drawn on the said Treasurer by Messrs Stevens and 
Wheelwright Messengers to Canada for Moneys taken up for the 
Public service."^ 

"At a Council held at the Lieut. -Governor's House in Cambridge 
on Thursday Aug. 13. 1752 His Honour communicated to the Coun- 
cil Letters he had received from Monsieur Longueil Commander in 
Chief in Canada & Messrs Stevens & Wheelwright Messengers sent 
from this Government on the affair of the Captives and the Copy of 
a Conference between the said Gentlemen and some of the St. Fran- 
cois Indians, with a List of the English captives ransomed by them 
with other papers relating to their Negotiation."- 

The follov^iiig are the official documents above-mentioned: 
"Speech of the Abenakis of Saint-Francois to Captain Stev- 
ens, depnt}^ from the Governor of Boston, in presence of M. 
le Baron de Longueuil, Governor of Canada, and of Iroquois 
from the Sault Saint-Louis, and from the Lake of the Two 
Mottntains, on the 5th of July, 1752. ArtiSaneto, Chief Ora- 


We shall talk to you as if we were speaking to 
your Governor in Boston. We hear on all sides that this Governor 
and the Bastonnais^ say the Abenakis are bad people. It is in vain 
that you charge us with bad hearts; it is always you, our brothers, 
who have attacked us; you have a sweet tongue, but a heart of gall. 
I admit, that when you begin it we can defend ourselves. 

'Mass. Council Records, Vol. 12. 

-Mass. Council Records, Vol. 12. 

^The people of N. E. were known at that time in Canada as "The Baston- 
nais." On my first visit to Boucherville a nonagenarian desired to shake 
hands with me as "'ttiie des Basto/i/iais.^' 


We tell you, brother, that we are not anxious for war. We like 
nothing better than to be at peace, and it needs only that our Eng- 
lish brothers keep peace with us We wish to keep possession 

of the lands on which we live We will not give up an inch 

of the land which we inhabit, beyond that long ago decided upon 

by our brothers We forbid you absolutely from killing a 

single beaver or taking one bit of wood on our lands. If you want 
wood we will sell it to you, but you shall not have it without our 
permission. Who has authorized you to have our lands measured ? 
We pray the Governor of Baston to have these surveyors punished, 
for we cannot believe they are acting under his orders. You are 
then the arbiters of peace between us. As soon as you cease to en- 
croach upon these lands, we shall be at peace." 


''I repeat, by this belt, it belongs to you only, to keep peace with 
us Abenakis. 

Our father here present has nothing to do with what we are saying 
to you. It is on our own behalf and for our allies that we speak. 
We regard our father simply as a witness of our words Un- 
der no pretext whatever must you pass beyond your limits 

We are a free people; allies of the French King from whom we have 
received our Religion, and help in time of need. We love him and 
we will serve his interests. Answer this speech as soon as possible. 
Report it in writing to your Governor. ' We shall keep a copy of it. 
It will not be difficult for your Governor to send us his reply. He 
can address it to our Father who will kindly send it to us." 

Stevens's reply. 

"I shall report to my Governor, your words, my brothers, and I 
will carry it to him in writing that nothing in it may be altered. 

I ask you, my Abenaki brothers, if your attacks upon the English 
during the past two years have been because of their encroachments 
upon your lands. Are you satisfied with the death of your people 
by means of the blows you have struck against the English ? 1 
know that we must not encroach on your lands. Those who have 
done so are stupid, lawless people." 



"When peace was made we expected to enjoy it with the French, 
but at the same moment we learned that you, our EngUsh brothers, 
had killed one of our men and had hidden him in the ice. 
When we demanded why you had killed him, you promised us satis- 
faction, but your ill-will towards us has been shown by your inac- 
tion during seven months, and we resolved to defend ourselves, and 
have destroyed a house. Since that a man and a woman of our vil- 
lage are missing. We have learned their sad fate by an English- 
woman who is now with us, who affirms that this man and woman 
were killed by the English in her presence, and as positive proof of 
this she has brought us a bag which we recognize as having belonged 
to these unfortunates. We were touched by this murder as we ought 
to be, and we avenged ourselves last year. The English that we 

have killed this year, and the two others taken prisoners, 

may attribute their hard fate to the fact that they have been caught 
hunting on our lands, and we repeat with all the firmness of which 
we are capable, that we will kill all the English that we find on our 

lands, if any of you are caught on our lands you will be 



"We have heard with pleasure your speech to the Englishman. 
We are delighted that you have defended your rights with spirit. 
We beg you to make your words good, if need be, and we promise 
to help you." 

"Proces-Verbal,"i or official report of their embassy dated 
July 25, 1752, signed by Stevens and Wheelwright with their 
Interpreter Daniel Joseph Maddox : ^ 

"Nous soufsignes Phineas Stevens et Nataniel Weerlight deputes 
par ordre de Monsieur S. Phips Lieutenant Gouverneur et Command- 
ant en chef a Baston aupres de Monsieur le Baron de Longueuil 

^Mass. Archives, Vol. 5, p. 542- 

'Daniel Joseph Maddox, a naturalized captive, baptized in Montreal in 
1710, married there in 1713, appears often on Canadian Archives as Interpreter 
to our ambassadors. 



Gouverneur de Montreal et Commandant en Canada a I'effet de 
traitter (iic) de la liberte des prisonniers Anglois qui sont detenus 
en Canada certifions que mon dit Sieur Le Baron de Longueuil des 
le six de Juin que nous sommes arrives a Montreal, a donne ses or- 
dres et nous a donne une entiere liberte pour parler aux dits prison- 
niers, et les rapeller aupres de nous pour les ramener dans la nouvelle 

Qu'en consequence nous Nathaniel Wierlierlight nous fommes 
transportes aux trois Rivieres et a Quebec, et avons confere aux trois 
Rivieres en presence de Mr Rigaud de Vaudreuil Gouverneur, avec 
les Anglois faits prisonniers par les sauvages, et qui sont au pouvoir 
tant les dits savages que des Francois qui les ont rachetes. 

Que la meme facilite nous a ete donnee a Quebec oii nous nous 
sommes aussi transporte par M. le Chevalier de Longueuil Lieutenant 
de Roy Com''' en la ditte [s/c] Place. 

Qu'a notre retour a Montreal nous avons rejoint le d'S"" Phinehas 
Stevens qui de son cote a travaille a rapeller les dits Prisonniers 
qui sont dans le Gouvernement de Montreal. Et apres avoir fait le 
sejour que nous avons juge necessaire en Canada, nous nous fommes 
determines a partir pour aller rendre compte de notre mission a Mr 
S. Phips notre Com''* en chef et en consequence nous declarons et 
affirmons Premierement que les nommes cy apres nous ont ete de- 
li vres, et que nous les ramenons avec nous Scavoir 

'I'homas Stannard rachete ci devant a Quebec par un francois des 

mains d'un Sauvage lequel francois lui a donne 

sa liberte gratuiteusement. 
Samuel Lumbart ) retires de chez le S'' Cadet a Quebec en lui pay- 
Edouard Hinkley ) ant cent livres, dont il s'est tenu content, quoy 

qu'il eut paye davantage aux Sauvages. 
Amos Eastman | retires de ches le S'' Gamelin a S' Fran(;ois, en 
Seth Webb ) lui remboursant pour chacun trois cens livres 

qu'il avoit payees aux Sauvages. 
Oner Hancock retire de ches la dame Hertel de S*^ Frangois, 

en payant trois cens Livres qu'elle avoit payees 

aux Sauvages. 



Thimoty Mackerty qui avoit reste malade a I'hopital a Montreal, 

fait prisonnier pendant la guerre. 
Joseph former pris aux Miamis s'est retire volontairement. 

En second lieu qu'il ne nous a pas ete possible de ravoir les 
nommes cy apres quelques ordres que M. le Baron de Longueuil 
ait pu donner, Sgavoir 

Berney Gradey a voulu rester a Quebec. 

Rachel Quaenbouts^ rachetee des sauvages par Mr De Rigaud, ou elle 
veut absolument rester, s'y trouvant parfaite- 
ment bien. 

le d'Starkes vient d'etre rendu sous promesse 
d'etre remplace par un esclave pris par les 
Abenakis de St Francois qui se sont obstines a 
les garder quelques instances que Mr de Ri- 
gaud ait faites, les ayant adoptes. 
pris et reste au pouvoir des Abenakis de Be- 
quancourt qui I'ont adopte. 

age d'environ douze ans a voulu absolument 
rester a Montreal ches le S'' Des Pins, et Mr Le 
Baron de Longueuil n'apar cru devoir le forger 
a partir, malgre luy. 

Elizabeth schinner a voulu rester ches M'' de St Ange Charly, qui 
I'a rachetee des sauvages il y a quelques annees, 
elle a fait abjuration. 

Indien au pouvoir de M'' de la Corne St Luc a 
ete pris a Sarastau^ par les frangois. M"" de St 
Luc le rendera pourvu qu'on le remplace quoy 
qu'il ait ete decede par feu M. le Marquis de la 
Jonquiere qu'il etait de bonne prise, et qu'il 
estoit esclave. 

Jean Starkes 

Abigail Noble 
Salomon Mitche 

Samuel freeman 

'This captive with several others, according to a Proces-Verbal dated June 
25, 1750, having abjured Protestantism, absolutely refused to return with Lieut. 
Benjamin Stoddard of New York. 



William Negre pris a Chibouctou, au pouvoir de Mr Le 

Ch*"" De La Corne qui le garde par les memes 
raisons que M^ de St Luc, et offre de le remettre 
aux memes conditions. 
Thomas Neal a voulu rester a Montreal. 

Saras Davids pris par les Iroquois du Sault Saint-Louis qui 

I'ont adopte et n'a pas voulu les quitter. 
"En troisieme lieu, nous declarons et afifirmons, que toutes per- 
quisitions par nous faites, et quelques facilites que M'' Le Baron De 
Longueuil nous ait donne, nous n'avons point trouve d'autres prison- 
niers Anglois en Canada. En foy de quoy nous nous sommes signes 
avec mon dit Sieur Baron de Longueuil et le S'' Maddox interprete 
en langue Angloise fait double a Montreal le vingt cinq juillet mil 
sept cens cinquante deux. 

[Signed] Longueuil, 

Phineas Stevens, 
Nat. Wheelwright, 
Dan" Joseph maddox." 

"A List of the English Prisoners which the Abenakis Indians 
have brought to Quebec. ^ The Saint-Francois Indians to the Num- 
ber of Forty have struck near Richmond Fort to revenge the Death 
of an Abenakis Chief which the English have killed near Boston, & 
have Brought in this City, the Prisoners following which they have 
sold to the French who was willing to buy them, viz': 
The Sieur Chalour^ has bought one 

named Lazarus Noble for .3^200. 

For Cloathes furnish'd 40. 


Le S'': Rivolt has bought 

Jabez Chub for 


For Cloathes furnish'd 



'Mass. Archives, Vol. 74, p. 57. 



Ange Charly? 


The 8:^ Turpine has bought 

John Rofs for ^150- 

P'or Cloaths furnish'd 50. 


Mr Decouagne^ has bought 

Abigail Noble for ^260. 

For Cloaths Furnish'd 122 — 15^ 

M''^ Dupere has bought 

Anna Homes for ;^2oo. 

For Cloaths Furnish'd 50. 

^282 - 15 


The S: Bazin has bought 

Phillipps Jenkins for ^150 

For Cloaths Furnish'd 100 

This man died at the Hospital 
28. Oct. 1750. 

Those which follows have been taken 

by the Becancourt Indians and bought of 


The Cadet Bought John Marten he has Ob- 

tain'd permission of the Governor General to 

Return to New England and pafs'd his Note 

to the S'': Cadet for ^260. 

M''^ F'ornel has bought 

William Rofs for ' ^124. — 10* 

John Noble 150. 

Marie Noble 184. — 10 

For Cloaths Furnish'd 100. 

'Sieur. 'DuQuesne. 


Ten Algonkiiis of the same party has 
bought & sold to the S^: Amiot 

Mathew Noble for ^86. 

For Cloaths Furnish'd 130. — 15* 

^216 — 15 
One named Solomon Whitney^ made 
his Escape from amongst the Indians to 
whom the Governor General was not willing 
to give him back again, he died at the Hos- 
pital i8th Nov'" 1750. 

Seth Webb ) r n c^ t^ 

Joseph Noble [ ^'^ t^^^ ^^ Franyo.s 

Frances Noble at Montreal with 

M'' Strange"^ 

Bought for ^300- 

Benj Noble is at La Prairie 

with Du May Bought ;^2oo. 

Abigail Noble at Becancourt. 
Timothy Whitney^ Bought and Paid p^3i5- 

This Account taken from Capt. Stev- 
ens's List Feb>' i, 1752 P"' J. Wheelwright."* 

The embassy of Stevens and Wheelwright ends with the 
following letter^ from the Governor of Canada of the same 
date as their Proces- Verbal. It is addressed to 
"M"- S. Phips 

L"^ Gouverneur et Com'^': en chef a Baston." 

'Whitten or Whidden. 
"St. Ange. 

^This is Timothy Whitton [see an/e] bought and brought home by Capt. 

"•The narratives of the captives mentioned in the above documents are in 
preparation by the author, being too long and too interesting to be summarized 

"■IVIass. Archives, Vol. 5, pp. 548-553. 



"Montreal le 25. Juillet. 1752, 

En qualite de Commandant Du Canada par la 
mort de M'' Le Marquis De La Jonquiere j'ay Thonneur de repondre 
a la Lettre que votre Excellence a ecrite a ce General le 14 Avril 

Les ordres respectifs qui ont ete donnes par Les Roys De France 
et De La Grande Bretagne, pour I'Echange mutuel des Prisonniers, 
recCit son Execution des I'annee 1750, et Mr Stouderi votre Depute du 
Gouvernement De New York ramena tous les prisonniers Anglois qui 
etoient depuis la Guerre dans ce Gouvernement, ce dont feu De la 
Jonquiere rendit compte a la Com De france 

quoy que ces Echanges fuffent entierement termines, et que le dit 
S'' Stouder en eut, donne sa declaration par ecrit, neanmoins j'ay 
re^u avec plaisir M"" Phineas Stevens, et Nathaniel Weerliwright, 
Deputes De votre Excellence pour la delivrance des memes Prison- 
niers vous verres, [sic] Monsieur, par le Proces-verbal cy joint qu'ils 
ont ela une entiere liberte pour travailler a leur recherche, et que je 
leur ai accorde mon authorite, pour avoir ceux qui sont dans cette 
colonic au pouvoir des sauvages, ou des fran^ois qui les ont rachetes, 
ils en ramenent neuf avec euxet a I'egard de ceux qui ont reste vous 
verres \sic] par le dit Proces-verbal les raisons qui n ont point per- 
mises a M''^ vos Deputes de les ramener. 

Ce qu'il y a de bien certain, c'est qu'il ne reste par un seul pris- 
onnier Anglois fait par les frangois pendant la Guerre, dans cette 
Colonic; ils furent tous renvoyes en 1750 comme je viens d'avoir 
I'honneur de I'observer a votre Excellence, ils furent tres bien trait- 
tes pendant leur sejour dans ce Pays et Tors [sic] de leur delivrance 
[sic] on n'eCit garde d'exiger aucune rangon 

Les Prisonniers dont il s'agit aujourd'huy, n'ont point ete pris 
par les frangois, ils I'ont ete depuis la guerre par les sauvages, et si 
les instances De feu M"" Le Marquis de la Jonquiere et les miennes 
aupres de ces nations avoient pu leur faire quelque impression elles 
ne se feroient point portees a faire les dits Prisoniers quelques fondees 
'Lieut. Benjamin Stoddard of the New Yorlc militia. 


qu'elles pretendent avoir etees [sic] ou du moins elles n'auroient 
point hesite a les mettre en liberte mais vous saves \sic] Monsieur 
que les sauvages de Canada comme ceux de partout ailleurs sont 
entierement libres, et qu'ils ne sont point comptables de leurs ac- 
tions envers de qui que ce soit aussy ne m'a t'il pas et6 possible de 
leur faire rendre les Anglois qu'ils ont adoptes dans leurs villages ce 
que M" vos Deputes ramenent avec Eux auroient vraisemblablement 
subi le meme sort, si des fran^ois par des sentiments d'humanite ne 
les avoient retires des mains de ces sauvages, en leur payant une 
ranyon que M" vos Deputes leur ont rembourse avec justice et con- 
noissance de cause. 

II n'y a aucune sauvage Prisonnier dans cette Colonic, j'ay tou- 
jours ignore qu'il y eCit des sauvages sujets au Gouvernement Ang- 
lois; ce seroit une nouveaute merveilleuse dont les fran^ois n'oser- 
oient jamais se flatter, les sauvages de cette colonie ne reconnois- 
sant aucune authorite [sic] et n'ayant d'autre Loy que leur passion 
et leur caprice. 

Les Abenakis de St Fran9ois ont paries a M'' Stevens^ votre dep- 
ute de fac;on a ne laisser aucun doute a cet egard, je n'ai eil aucune 
part a leurs paroles, j'en ay seulement ete temoin et j'ay bien voulu, 
pour faire plaisir a M" vos Deputes, faire transcrire ces paroles, et 
leur en donner une copie que j'ay certifiee. 

Si vous souhaittes [sic] Monsieur, y repondre vous pourres [sic] 
me les adresser, et je les ferai parvenir aux dits Abenakis Je sup- 
plie, votre Excellence d'etre persuadee pendant que J'auray le Com- 
mandemant de ce Pays et dans tons autre terns [sic] je feray tou- 
jours mon possible pour correspondre a la Bonne intelligence qui 
doit regner entre nous, et vous prouver que je suis avec un profond 


Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur, 


The occasion of Major Wheelwright's next embassy to 
Canada was as follows : 

'See ante. 


During the summer of 1753, Lazarus Noble and Benjamin 
Mitchell had been sent to Canada by Lieut. Gov. Phips, then 
acting as governor of Massachusetts, with a passport and of- 
ficial letters demanding the release of their children, who 
with others had been captured at Swan Island. This mis- 
sion had been futile, and Noble and Mitchell had been badly 
treated in Canada. 

Indignant at the treatment of its envoys, the General 
Court of Massachusetts, upon the return of Governor Shir- 
ley from England, desired him to demand restitution of all 
the captives in Canada. The story is thus told in the rec- 
ords : 

At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon Tues- 
day, Oct. 23, 1753. Present His Excellency William Shirley, Esq. 
Gov. His Excellency laid Before the Board the Draught of a Let- 
ter he proposed to send to the Governour of Canada agreeable to 
the Desire of the General Assembly to demand the Restitution of 
the Captives in his Government — Which being read and considered 
was approved of.^ 

At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon Wednes- 
day, October 31, 1753 

His Excellency asked the advice of the Council respecting the 
manner of Sending his Letter to the Governour of Canada for de- 
manding the Restitution of the English captives — Which Matter be- 
ing fully considered it was Advised that His Excellency send the 
said Letter by some suitable Person to be by him Commifsionated 
to make the Demand of the said Captives — and His Excellency hav- 
ing accordingly appointed M^ Nathaniel Wheelwright for that Ser- 
vice: Advised and Consented that a Warrant be made out to the 
Treasurer to advance & Pay unto the said Nathaniel Wheelwright 
the sum of Ninety Pounds towards his Charges in his proposed 
journey to Canada, he to be accountable for the same; 
and it was further Advised and Consented that a Warrant be made 
out to the Treasurer to pay unto M'' Nathaniel Wheelwright the 

'Council Records, Vol. 12, 1747-1755, p. 306. 


Sum of Thirty-four Pounds one shilling and eleven Pence to dis- 
charge his Accompt of Expenses in his late Journey to Canada in 
Company with Capt. Phineas Stevens in the service of this Govern- 

Gov. Shirley's letter to the governor of Canada, sent by- 
Nathaniel Wheelwright, dated Boston, October 22, i753,Ms 
a most interesting document. In it he complains of the in- 
sult to the ambassadors as a "violation of the Amity between 
the two nations," as "contrary to the Laws of Humanity," 
and "an Infringement of the Natural Rights of Mankind." 
In closing he says "I now send Mr. Nathaniel Wheel- 
wright to Demand of you the Restitution of any 

other English Captives belonging to this Government which 
may be found in the hands of the French in Canada, and 
desire that Your Exc'': would Use Your Influence and Power 

over the Indians in whose hands the beforementioned 

Children may now be found for the Immediate Delivery of 
them, likewise of any other English of this Province whom 
they have made Captive, to the said M' Nathaniel Wheel- 

I have the Honour to be w"' very great Regard, 
Sir, Your Exc^* most Humble and most 

Obedient Servant." 

[no signature.] 

" November, 1753. 

Instructions to Mr. Nathaniel Wheelwright who is commissioned 
to transact affairs with the gover"- of Canada for the Release of Eng- 
lish captives. 2 Having appointed & Commissioned you to proceed 
in the Service of this Government to Canada for the Redemption of 
English Captives belonging to this Province. You are hereby di- 
rected to set out on your journey as soon as may be The Season of 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. V, p. 554. 
*Mass. Archives, Vol. 74, p. 135. 


the Year not admitting of Delay, Taking with you such Persons 
either English or Indians as you shall find necessary for your Guid- 
ance & safe Conduct thither and as soon as you shall arrive at the 
French Fort at Crown Point you must apply to the Commanding 
officer there for a safe & speedy Conveyance to the Place where the 
Governor Gen' shall then reside. Upon your Arrival at the Place 
of the Governor's Residence you must immediately wait upon him 
with my Letter & after Delivery thereof acquaint him that you are 
appointed by me to solicit the affairs contained in the said Letter, 
(and if need be to shew him your Commission for that Purpose) and 
desire that he would appoint you some proper time to treat with 
him about these Matters. When the ^"^ Governor shall admit you 
to a Conference on that subject, you must Signify to him that you 
do by my Order in the name of His Majesty the King of Great Brit- 
ain demand that he would cause to be Delivered up to you the Eng- 
lish Captives belonging to this Province who are detained by the 
French in his Governm* contrary to the Peace and Amity now sub- 
sisting between Great Britain & France. If he should consent to 
the Delivery of them either with or without Ransom, you must take 
care of their Speedy & safe conveyance to Boston. If he should in- 
sist upon the Ransomes as they were Purchas'd out of the Hands of 
the Indians you must shew him the Unreasonableness of such a 
Demand considering that their Fathers^ with great Expence & Loss 
of Time had made a Journey to Canada with Credentials from this 
Governm*^, with Money in their Hands for Procuring their Release, 
but were violently driven out of the Country before they had Time 
to effect it. If finally you shall not be able to get off the Ransom 
Money, you must draw upon the Treasurer of this Province to pay 
the Same. 

You must likewise Request the Governor of Canada to use his En- 
deavor to get any other Captives now in the hands of the Indians to 
be delivered up to you; and you are upon such Encouragement to 
treat with the Indians for their Ransom & agree with them upon 
any reasonable Sum or Sums & draw upon the Treasurer for Pay- 
ment thereof as aforesaid. When you shall have accomplished your 
'Lazarus Noble and Benjamin Mitchell. 


business as far as you are able & the Season will admit of your 
Travel, you must return back to Boston first waiting on the Gov- 
ern'' of Canada for his answer to my Letter which if he should de- 
cline to do by Writing & do it by a Verbal Message have such Mes- 
sage or Reply down in Writing as Soon as you can that there may 
be no Mistake in it thro Forgetfulness: You must ask the (rovern'''' 
Passes for your Safe Conduct thro the French Territory. 

Given under my hand at Boston the Day of Novem'"' Anno 

Domini 1753 in the 27^'' Year of his Majes'^'** Reign. 

W. Shirley." 

Letter from Major Nathaniel Wheelwright to Governor 

"Montreal, Nov. 30, 1753. 

I had the honour the nth of November past to acquaint 
your Excellency of my arrival at Albany which place I left as soon 
as possible, and made all the Despatch I could on my journey and 
voyage to Canada. Permit me to advise Your Excellency by this 
opportunity that I arrived with Mr. Lydius and my servant yester- 
day noon at Montreal"^ we were immediately conducted by the of- 
ficer who was sent with us from Fort St. Frederic, and introduced 
by him to the General, Monsieur le Marquis Du Quesne who asked 
me my business I acquainted him that I was sent by Your Excel- 
lency to have the Honour to deliver him a letter which he received 
and immediately retired into his cabinet. He soon returned saying 
the letter was in English and that he would send for some person to 
translate it. Then very genteelly told me as I was not a stranger 1 
might go and repose myself and procure Lodgings where I pleased. 
After dinner he sent an officer. Monsieur St. Luc la Corne, who is 
my particular friend, and much in favor with the General, this gen- 
tleman surprised me with a message from his Excellency, that he 
had been informed that the last time 1 came into the country, I had 
with me an E^ngineer who passed for my Domestick, and that 1 had 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 54, pp. 263-266. 
'^Nov. 29, 1753. 


with his assistance taken a plan of this City, Quebec, and the River 
I assured the Gentleman it was false, and that some ill-minded busy 
person must have raised the report, to prevent ray having an op- 
portunity to execute the Commifsion I had the Honour to receive 
from your Excellency, and desired he would afsure the General the 
truth of this. He did and was kind enough to acquaint me in the 
evening that the General had your Excellency's letter translated, 
and would see me in the morning, when he sent for me, as soon as 
I paid my respects to him, he desired me to withdraw with him in- 
to his cabinet where I had the Honour to converse with him more 
than an hour without Interruption. He very genteelly told me he 
was charmed to have an Opportunity of a Correspondence with 
your Excellency and that he would answer your Excellency's letter 
very particularly: he was surprised at your Excellency's mentioning 
his not answering Mr. Phipps his letter which he assured me he 
never received. He then said he had been informed that I came 
into the Country the last time with some other design than for pris- 
oners, but he was now persuaded to the contrary and did me the 
Honour to say I might stay a convenient time to accomplish my af- 
fairs, that I should be at Liberty, and should want no assistance he 
could give me; that I should go when it was agreeable to me to 
three Rivers, St. Francis & Becancourt with an Interpreter to en- 
deavour to get those captives.^ He also gave orders to Monsieur 
St. Luc to go with me to Monsieur DePain,^ and acquaint him that 
it was his orders that I should have liberty to see and converse with 
the English boy, Mitchell's son at all times and as often as I pleased. 
I saw the Boy but had not time to say much to him. Permit me to 
assure your Excellency that I shall omit no opportunity to endeav- 
our to reconcile him to return to his Parents. M"" Noble's child 
which Monsieur St. Ange Charly has the care of, and which he as- 
sured me with great grief the last time I was in the country was 
dead, is now at three Rivers at the Convent. I hope your Excel- 
lency will be satisfied with my Conduct and permit me to assure 
you that I shall be very circumspect in my behaviour, and shall 

'From Swan Island. '^See Frocks- Verbal. 



punctually observe your Excellency's Instructions: Should your 
Excellency have any further commands during my stay in Canada 
and should send your letters to Col. Lydius at Albany he may 
have an oppertunity in the winter' of conveying your Letters to this 
Place. The Inclos'' letter I had the Honour to receive from the 
General in answer to that I had the Honour to receive of Your Ex- 
cellency and Delivered Him. Your Excellency will 1 hope Forgive 
the Liberty I take to inclose a letter for my Good Father. =^ 

Your Excellency will excuse my giving you a particular account 

of the Country. They have had a plentiful summer and a very fine 

Harvest in this part of the Country. Permit me that I have the 

Honour to be with the utmost Respect Your Excellency's most 

Obedient and most Humble Servant 

Nat: Wheelwright." 

Letter from M. DitQuesne, Governor General of Canada 
to Governor Shirley of Massachusetts enclosed in that of 
Major Wheelwright :^ 

"Mountroyal Dec'' i""^: 1753 

S"": I have had the Honour of a Letter from your Excellency 
dated the 22'^ of Ocf: last Jn which J was surpriz'd to find a cir- 
cumstantial Proof of my Being honour'd with a Letter from M'': 
Phips On Occasion of a Journey undertaken to this Place by Ben- 
jamin Mitchel & Lazarus Noble to recover their Children. 

Tho J have not the Honour to be known to your Excellency J 
flatter mySelf you will readily believe this Letter could never have 
reach'd me, since J had not answer m"': Phipp's Civility, who merits 
all Respect as well on his own Account, as of the Post he sustain'd, 
and it would be a heinous piece of Jncivility of which a man of Rank 
cannot be thought capable. 

With regard to the ill succefs the above mentioned Persons met 
with, your Excellency will give me leave to observe, that if J sent 

'Proof that Major Wheelwright remained in Canada during the whole or a 
part of the winter of 1753-4. 

'John Wheelwright of Boston, member of the Governor's Council. 
^Mass. Archives, Vol. V, p. 558. 


them away sooner than J might have design'd, they must look upon 
it as wholly occasioned by the Interpreter, whom they had chosen^ 
who was a Person that Return'd here of a very suspected Character, 
and who besides began to behave in so insolent a manner, that J 
determined to cause him to depart immediately, rather than to be 
forc'd to put him into Prison. 

But to convince your Excellency how sensibly J was touch'd with 
the lively Sorrow these Fathers felt at returning home without car- 
rying their Children with them. I sent for the Child that is with 
one Despin and before all the Ofificers of this Government reproached 
him with his bad temper in not being willing to follow his Father. 
He told me for answer, bursting into tears, that absolutely he would 
not leave his Master. 

As it is Evident they are Slaves fairly sold J did not think proper 
to oblige their masters to give them up, which would have been 
done without any Difficulty, if they had been Prisoners of war. 

Your Excellency will now be Sensible of what Jmportance it is on 
such an Occasion to make choice of such a Person as Mr Wheel- 
wright for Negotiatour. Since he will have the Honour to Jnform 
you that as He was the Bearer of your Excellency's Letter J gave 
him a very Suitable Reception & promis'd him Protection in every- 
thing his Commifsion related to. 

I depend upon Your Excellency's being perfectly convinced of 
my Earnestnefs in concurring to maintain the Friendship that sub- 
sists between the two Crowns, when you are Inform'd that, at your 
Jnstance J have interposed my authority to cause the two Children, 
that are in the hands of y*^ French to be restor'd and have given M"" 
Wheelwright an interpreter to signify to the Abenakis of S' Fran- 
cois & Becancourt, that they cannot do me so great a Pleasure as 
by releasing the three other Children that are with them. 

Your Excellency will have the Goodnefs to look upon it in this 
Case, as an unavailing thing to lay my Commands on the Jndians, 
and that it is to be done only by Treaty, which can be Concluded 
by nothing but a Ransom to influence them because they are ex- 

'This was Anthony Van Schaackof N. Y. He had been before imprisoned 
in Canada. 


tremely attached to their Slaves; This I leave to the Priuience with 
which I think m'' Wheelwright capable of conducting & J very Read- 
ily give him all the assistance in my Power. 

J am very far from pretending to Deprive the Children of your 
Excellency's Nation, which were taken during a profound Peace, of 
their Liberty and Religion, when they are Happy enough to have 
fallen into the Hands of the French, over whom I have an Absolute 
Power, but J repeat it to your Excellency, that J cannot Answer 
for the Jnclinations of the Jndians in this Case, for there is nothing 
so difficult as to get their Slaves from them, especially when they 
have distributed them among their Wigwams to make up for their 
Dead J hasten to inform your Excellency that J have the honour to 
afsure you, that in whatever depends immediately upon me, you 
will receive intire Satisfaction, as no one is more desirous than J 
am of corresponding with you as frequently as J do with AP Hop- 
son : J assure you every Thing ingages me to it: Your Excellency's 
Reputation which is known to me: your distinguished Merit in all 
Respects, and the Desire J have to maintain & augment the good 
Understanding and harmonic which ought to subsist between the 
respective Governours of the two Provinces in Amity, must be to 
you a sure Pledge that J shall keep these objects in view with as 
much Alacrity & Earnestnefs as J am desirous of proving personal- 
ly the infinite Respect with which J have the Honour to be 


Your Excellency's 

most humble & most 

obedient Servant 

Du Quesne. 

J take the Liberty to pray your Excellency the favour with your 
leave the Packett directed by me to the Duke de Mirepoix Embas- 
sadour to his Britannic Majesty." 

That Mr. Wheelv^Tight's despatches were duly received in 
Boston, appears by the following •} 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 6, p. 155, 


"In the House of Representatives Jan. 8, 1754, It was Ordered 
that Mr. Speaker, Col. Partridge & Mr Lyman with such as the 
Hon*^'® Board shall join be a Committee to take under Consideration 
the Letters of the Governor of Canada & M"" Nathaniel Wheelwright 
to his Excellency the Governor communicated to the Court this 
Day, & Report what it may be proper for the Court to do. 

Sent up for Concurrence. 

T. Hubbard, Speaks" 

"Wednesday, January 9. 1754. 
Present in Council 

The Secretary by Order of his Excellency laid before the two 
Houses a Letter His Excellency had received from the Governor of 
Canada and another from M'' Nathaniel Wheelwright respecting the 
English Captives in the hands of the French & Indians there 

In the House of Representatives Ordered that M'' Speaker, Col. 
Patridge & Mr Lyman with such as the Hon'^^'^ Board shall join be a 
Comm'^'^'^ to take under Consideration the Letters of the Governor 
of Canada & M'' Wheelwright to His Excellency the Governor and 
Report what may be proper to be done thereon — 

In Council Read & Concurr'd and Jacob Wendell & Eleazer Por- 
ter Esq'"^ are joined in the affair."^ 

While the Governor and Council in Boston were consider- 
ing the despatches received from Wheelwright, he was ea- 
gerly prosecuting his search for the captives in Canada. Hav- 
ing got possession of Elinor Noble and others, he left them 
at Three Rivers and proceeded on his memorable visit to 
his aunt Esther at the Ursuline convent in Quebec. 

I find no mention in our Archives of his return to Boston, 
or of his employment later in the service of the government. 
I therefore conclude that Nathaniel Wheelwright went on- 
ly twice to Canada; his second embassy extending from the 
early autumn of 1793, into the late spring of 1794, having 
misled me at first into the statement [see ante^ that he went 

'Council Records, Vol. 20. Also in Mass. Archives, Vol. 6. 


three times as ambassador to Canada. Proof of this con- 
clusion seems to me to be also given as follows : 

"In the House ot Representatives, Dec. 27, 1754. 

Inasmuch as Sundry persons belonging to this Province, some of 
whom were Soldiers & taken from the fort on Kennebec River are 
now in Captivity in Canada — and as this Court have been Informed 
that there are also divers Persons in Captivity at Canada belonging 
to the Government of New Hampshire. Therefore, voted that the 
Governor of Massachusetts, write to the Governor of New Hamp- 
shire & Inform him that this Court proposes to employ Capt. Phine- 
has Stevens of N" 4, to go to Canada to Redeem the captives of 
Massachusetts provided that New Hampshire joins and pays its pro- 
portion of the expence of the Same." 

A letter of the same date as the above vote was at once 
sent by Governor Shirley of Massachtisetts to Governor Ben- 
ning Wentworth of N. H.^ asking his co-operation in sending 
Phineas Stevens of N. H. on this joint embassy, the expenses 
of the journey to be proportionately paid by both govern- 
ments. Governor Wentworth replies : 

"Portsmouth, Jan. 4, 1755. 
Sir, Haveing with great difficulty at last prevailed with the As- 
sembly to unite with your Excy'' Government in Employing Cap. 
Stevens of Charlestown to proceed to Canada in order to redeem 
the Captives belonging to this Government now in the hands of the 
French & Inds. I must Desire your favour in Despatching him here 
as soon as possible, the Sec. having wrote him by my order to that 
purpose. The Sum already voted is ^150. Stirling, but I am hop- 
ing to get it Enlarged by Capt. Stevens arrival. I am with great 

S'' Your Excellency** most Obedient 
humble Servant, 

B. Wentworth"^ 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 5, p. 196. 
'^Mass. Archives, Vol. 5, p. 199. 


While this embassy is pending one Johnson arrives in Bos- 
ton, empowered by the government of New Hampshire to go 
to Canada for the redemption of captives and desires to be 
employed by Massachusetts for the same purpose. There 
arriving "Just upon his Departure some Intelligence that 
made it appear not convenient that he should proceed at this 
time," he was called back by Shirley and detained in Boston. 

"Feb. 8, 1755.1 

In the House of Representatives: Ordered that Col. Hale, Mr. 
Welles & Mr. Quincy with such as the Hon'''® Board shall join, be 
a Committee to Consider of some Proper Method for the Redemp- 
tion of the Captives now in Canada, belonging to this Province. In 
Council Read & Concurred and Samuell Watts & Thomas Hutchin- 
son Esq^ are joined in the affair." 

"At a Council held Tuesday, Feb. 11, 1755.^ In Council Read a 
first & second time & passed a Concurrence. 

A Report referring to the Redemption of Captives in Canada Pur- 
suant to the above Directions the Committee have attended the 
Service assigned them; and are humbly of the opinion that it is not 
Convenient at this time for the Court to Employ any Person in Pur- 
chasing Captives belonging to this Province; now in Canada. It 
appearing to the Committee that the Indians have by Means of such 
Purchases been encouraged to continue their Depredations upon our 
Frontiers, and the Committee are further of the opinion that no 
Effectual way can be Projected to put an End to their Depreda- 
tions but by Revenging the Injury upon the Indians themselves or 
upon those by whom they were imployed. Which is Humbly sub- 

Per Samuel Watts per Order. 

In Council read and Ordered that the Report be accepted." 

The last mention of Wheelwright's services as ambassador 
is the following : ^ 

'General Court Records, Vol. 20, p. 357. 
^General Court Records, Vol 20. 
•^Council Records, 1747-1755. 



"Att a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon 
Thursday, the 27 of February 1755: 

Advised is: Consented that a warrant be made out to the Treasurer 
to pay unto the Persons herein after mentioned the following sums 
to discharge the Accounts by them respectively exhibited viz: 

To Mr. Nathaniel Wheelwright the Sum of Three Hundred & 
Seventy three Pounds & Six pence, being the Ballance of his Ac- 
compt of Charges in his late Negotiations in Canada for the Redeem- 
ing of Captives." 

Later, Governor Shirley writes to explain to Governor 
Wentworth, his action in not permitting Johnson to proceed 
to Canada.' 




By a letter from the Intendant, M, de Ramezay to the 
Marquis de Vaudreuil written at Montreal the 19th of Octo- 
ber, 1709,^ we learn that Lieut. Barent Staats, the husband of 
Peter Schuyler's niece, was captured Oct. 12, 1709, near Fort 
Nicholson and carried to Canada, arriving in Montreal, 
Oct. 1 8th. 

'Letter from Governor Shirley to Governor Benning Wentworth, Mass. 
Archives, Vol. 5. 

'^N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IX, p. 838. 


May ist, 1 710, M. de Vaudreuil writes to M, de Pontchar- 
train ■} 

"The Onnontagues request me not to harm Peter, that is 

the government of Orange, protesting that Peter and the Dutch 
had been forced by the English to take up arms against us. As 
these Indians requested me, My Lord, to be pleased to permit them 
to untie the cords of Peter's nephews — that is of the Dutch prison- 
ers — whom I held in my hands, I embraced that opportunity to 
learn distinctly the condition of things in the government of Orange, 
and pretexting an exchange with Peter Schuyler, of his nephew for 
Father de Mareuil, the Jesuit missionary of Onontague, and of three 
other Dutchmen for three Frenchmen, and of an officer belonging 
to the Boston government whom 1 have here^ for Ensign de Ver- 
cheres,^ I sent Sieurs de la Periere and Dupuis and six other French- 
men and an Indian to Orange," I go up to Montreal, My 

Lord to be in a better position for learning what is transpir- 
ing within the government of Orange and among the Iroquois, 
either by the return of Mess" de la Periere and Dupuis or from let- 
ters they will find an opportunity to write me." 

De Vaudreuil's despatches to the Minister, in June, 1710, 
and his letter of Oct. 31 of the same year give us the follow- 
ing : 

"Sieurs de la Periere and Dupuis having left Orange so as to ar- 
rive at Montreal at the opening of the navigation. I found them 
there at my arrival together with Father Mareuil, Jesuit, whom the 

'N. Y. Col. Doc. Vol. IX, p. 842. 
^John Arms of Deerfield, Mass. 

•'Seigneur de Vercheres, officer of the Carignan regiment, had two sons 
and a daughter, the heroine Madeleine de Vercheres. His eldest son was 
killed at Haverhill, Aug. 29, 1708. See Parkman, Frontenac, p. 302 and Half 
Century of Conflict I, p. 94. The younger son Beauvenir de Vercheres figures 
in our Archives as "Boveney," and was for several years a captive in Boston 
and Albany. John Arms of Deerfield and Johnson Harmon of York were sent 
at different times as exchange for him, but he was long held by Dudley for 
Eunice Williams's return. 


English carried off last year from Onnontague, where he was 011 the 

mission. This Jesuit and these two officers informed me that 

Boston was not disarming and even was expecting a reinforcement 
from F^urope to make an attack by sea either on this country or on 

The story of "Boveney" and John Arm.s and Johnson 
Harmon is thus continued in our Archives : 

"At a Council held at the Council Chamber, Boston, upon 'i'uesday 
Ult" [28"'] February, 1709,' Present His Excellency Joseph Dudley 
Esq Gov. &c., &c., &:c. His FLxcellency communicated A letter 
from Col. Partridge received by an Express the night past accom- 
panying letters to him from the Commissioners at Albany and copy 
of a letter from Mr Vaudreuil to Col. Peter Schuyler sent by his 
messengers from Mont Real now attend'^ at Albany' who brought in 
with them some Dutch prisoners & one John Armes of Deerfield 
upon their parole to return back with them in case they could not 
obtain their release by exchange for French Prisoners at New Yorke 
and some in the hands of this Government And the heads of a Let- 
ter to Col. Partridge were agreed upon to be Signed by the Secre- 

"Letter to Col. Partridge' relating to m'' Vaudrueil' messeng" at 
Albany, — and French Prison''\ 

Boston February ult: [28"'] 1709-10. 

His Excellency has this day communicated in Council your 
Letters to himselfe accompanying those from the Magistrates of 
Albany with the Copy of a Letter from m'" Vaudreuil directed to Col. 
Peter Schuyler by the hand of his Mefsengers there attending from 
Mont- Real on pretence of negotiating an Exchange of Dutch Pris- 
oners & one Armes of Deerfield brought thither with them, for some 

'Council Records, Vol. 5, pp. 191-192. 
'^Sieurs de la Feriere and Dupuis. 
^See Secretary Addington's letter ante. 
■•Mass. Archives, Vol. 51, p. 192. 


French Prisoners at New Yorke & Beuvenire taken at Haverhill and 
Le-ffever, two of theirs in our hands, the latter proposed to be Ex- 
changed for Armes with a great Demand upon him for his redemp- 
tion out of the hands of the Indians. It's no hard thing to penetrate 
into their Intreagues, the Designe being to conciliate a new friend- 
ship and neutrality with the i\lbanians as they have lately had; to 
gain Intelligence of the motions and preparations of the English 
and leave this and other Her Majesty^ Colonys to take care for 
themselves. Mr Vaudreuil takes no notice of_his Excellency, neg- 
lects to write to him, thinking to obtain his Prisoners from hence 
by the Interposition of the Gent** at Albany; well knowing how 
false he has been and Violated his promises made Once & again to 
return all the English Prisoners, and that long since, upon which 
all the French Prisoners on his side were sent home by way of Port- 
Royal. Knowing also his Excy^ Resolution never to set up an Al- 
giers trade to Purchase the Prisoners out of his hands and Direction 
not to have them sent to Albany but to have them brought in a Ves- 
sell by water from Canada or down Kennebec River to Casco Bay 
or Piscataqua. In which Resolution he continues and it is agreeable 
to the mind of the Council. 

So that Armes must go back with the Messengers, unlefs he can 
otherwise obtain his Liberty; you will further Examin him particu- 
larly referring to the State of Quebeck and Mont-Real how they 
are as to Provisions and Clothing, what store-ships arrived there the 
last Summer and other Shipping and what are there now? what new 
Fortification they raysed in the Summer past and where ? 

And by the next Post from Albany you must send for Beuvenire 
from thence and write to the Major and Magistrate to adjust the 
Accompt of the Demand for his Keeping, which as is Intimated is 
very Extravagant beyond what is usually allowed for Prisoners and 
Let draw upon the Governm'^ here for payment and It shall be 
Done. In case the Hunting Mohawks attend you Its thought ad- 
visable that Major Stoddard joyne a Serg' & six Centinels of his 
best Hunters w**^ them who will take care to observe them and they 
will be a good out scout for which you have his Excellency^ Letter 
& Order w"' this. 


You may Adjust the Post as is propos'' from Albany. If the ser- 
vice will be as well Perform'd & the Charge of the Province be 
thereby Eased but the Albanians must not think to make a Purse 
from us and to Exact more than it would be done for by our own 
People It being much better that they have y'^ Advantage of what 
must be necessarily Expended. 

This by the Order of his Exce^' with the Advice of the Council from 

Your very humble Servant 

J** Addington Secy. 
The Letter to Nf Vaudreuil must be sent to Albany by y** Post 
& forwarded from thence by an Ind w^''out Charge or otherwise by 
y® french Messengers there now attending." 

"At a Council held &c. upon Monday, the 6th of March, 1709, 

Present His Excellency Joseph Dudley, Esq., Governor. &c., &c. 

John Armes of Deerfield, a prisoner with the French in Mount 
Real & permitted to come with the French messengers to Albany 
upon his parole, attended bringing a letter from Col. Partridge & 
another from Mr. Williams, and gave some further account of affairs 
there and was dismissed, the Governor and Council not seeing rea- 
son to alter anything of their direction to Col. Partridge by their 
letters the last week."^ 

"Tuesday 30th, March, 17 10, His Excellency communicated to 
the Council a letter from Col. Partridge and another from Mr. Wil- 
liams, Minister of Deerfield, accompanying some letters from Al- 
bany referring to Bovenee a French Prisoner of War sent by His 
Excellency the year past to Albany with intent to be exchanged 
for Mr. Williams' daughter, prisoner in the hands of the enemy." 

As we have seen by De Vaudreuil's dispatches to the 
French minister, the Sieurs de la Periere and Dupuis re- 
turned to Montreal before the opening of navigation; unac- 

'Council Records, Vol. 5, pp. 193-194. 

'^i. e. by Secretary Addington's letter to Partridge of Feb. 28, 1709-10. 


companied, however, by John Arms, their prisoner on 


"Deerfield, May y*^ 27, 1710. 
Worthy & Reverant Si'' Thes Lins are to inform yourself of y"^ ac- 
count of my Charges Both for my time «&: expences, sence I Came 
into this Contrey y'' time that I spent in waiting on ye french Gen- 
tleman at Albany & in y® marching in y*" woods Contains ten 10 
wekes whic at 12 pence par day is 03 — 00 — 00 

y^ charges for my Diyat & Lodging was 02 — 06 — 00 

& my charge for 2 horses jorny to Allbany 

at 10 shilens par jorney 01 — 00 — 00 

having giving yourself an account only 
for may time & my diat & my lodging & my 

horses jorney all amounts to six pounds 

six shlens. 06 — 06 — o 

pray s present my humble Duty to his Excelency and inform him 
of my Dificult surcumstance both in Canada, being then a wounded 
prisener & stript of all my clothes I could get none out of ther 
magesend but was fourst to by them with my one money having 
Credit with a gentleman there & allso of my oblagasion that I am 
now under which I supose that y*^ french Cap*" has informed his ex- 
elency abought & intreat his Excelency to helpe me in so Dificult A 
cas as I am under: j shall not ade but Remain your humble saur- 
vuent Joh Arms." 

"To His Excellency Joseph Dudley Esq** Captaine Generalle in 
Cheife &c to y'^' Honourable Counsell & Representatives in Generall 
Corte assembled this 31 May 17 10. 

J Humbly Move in behalf of John Armes now at Derefield a pris- 
oner to the Frentch being taken by the enemy in June was twelve 
month & Carried to Canada & since he came hither hath been at 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 71, pp. 630-631. 


great Charges at Albany as per account annexed prays it may be al- 
lowed & payd him out of the treasury of this province as alsoe Such 
other allowances for his Losses of his tyme & Cloathing his wounds 
&c as this Corte may judge meete & just & for yo'' Excellency & 
Honors Shall ever Pray Samll Partridge in behalfe 

of John Amies a fores'^ 
In Council 1st June 1710. Read and Recommended 
In House of representatives June 16: Read and Comitted 

" 17 Read & In Answer to the 
above Petition Resolved That the Sum of Six Pounds and Six Shil- 
lings be Allowed & paid out of the publick Treasury to the Hon''''' 
Samuel Partridge Esq for the use of the s*^ Armes 
Sent up for Concurrence John Park Speaker, 17 June, 17 10. Read 
& concurred Js'' Addington Sec^"! 


''To his Excellency Joseph Dudley Esq'' Cap" Gen" & Gov"" in 
Chief of her Maj^''^'* Province of the Massachusetts Bay &c and The 
Hon"''': Councill and House of Representatives The Humble Pe- 
tition of Johnson Harman of the Town of York in the Province of 

That Yo' Petitioner being about his Lawful! Occations at 
winter Harbour on the 8"' day of October last, was taken captive by 
a party of Penobscot & Kennebeck Indians & by them Carried to 
Quebecq in Canada, where he continued a Prisoner untill the 22nd 
day of may following, Having Borrowed some money of Maj Lev- 
ingston & other friends, by it prevailed on Maj Parotte to come 
home to see his family & settle his affairs. Providence favouring this 
good humour of Mons'' De Vaudrieull, and his Excellency's Good- 
nefs to Return A Prisoner from here in his Room, (which Favour is 
for Ever to be Acknowledged) But now he is Commanded away in 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 71, pp. 630-631. Also Gen. Court Records Vol. 9, 
P- 39- 


the Present Expedition (wherein he hopes & Designs to do Some Sig- 
nal! Service) But his Misfortunes are such by this imprisonm' and 
his affairs are such that all that is Dear & good to him lies at stake 
& his family Suffers Extreamly for want of his being at home &c 

Therefore he humbly prays this Hon''"": afsembly to Consider the 
Great fateigue & Expence he hath been at & the poor Circum- 
stances of his family and affairs, & to afford them Some Support & 
help to fit himself out in his Station this Expedition as in yo"" Wis- 
dom Shall seem meet 

And yo"" Pet. as in Duty bound shall 
ever pray &c Johnson Harmon" 

July 24"' 17 1 1 In the House of Representatives 

"In answer to this petition 
Voted that Twenty Pounds be paid the petition"" out of the province 
Sent up for Concurrence^ John Burrill Speaker" 

July 24. 1711. 
"Upon Reading the Petition of Johnson Harman of York late 
Prisoner of Quebec, Praying Consideration of the great Fatigue & 
Expence he has been at & the poor Circumftance of his Family &: 
Affairs Voted in Concurrence with the House of Representatives, 
That the Sum of Twenty Pounds be paid to the Petitioner out of 
the Treasury of this Province: — '^ Consented to. J. Dudley." 

While Johnson Harmon of York, Me., a captive in Cana- 
da, was at Chambly fort on his return to New England on 
parole, to be exchanged for "Boveney," he received the fol- 
lowing interesting letter from Father Meriel. I give it to 
show Father Meriel's knowledge of the English language 
and his facility in its use. The original is in Mass. Archives, 
Vol. 51, pp. 212-213 : 

^Mass. Archives, Vol. 71, p. 819. 

'^Court Records, 1709-1715. Vol. 9, p. 138. 


"To M'' Johnson Harmon 

at Shamblee, 

Since you are gone, a Squaw of the nation of the Abn- 
akis is come in from Boston. She has a pass from your Governour. 
She go's about getting a little girl, daughter of M'' John Williams. 
The Lord Marquess of Vaudreuil helps her as he can. The business 
is very hard because the girl belongs to Indians of another sort* and 
the master of the English girl is now at Albany. You may tell your 
Governour that the squaw can't be at Boston at the time appointed 
and that she desires him not to be impatient for her return, and 
meantime to take good care of her two papows. The same Lord 
Chief Governour of Canada has insured me in case she may not 
prevail with the Mohoggs for Eunice Williams, he shall send home 
four English persons in his power for an exchange in the Room of 
the two Indian children. You see well, Sir, your Governor must 
not disregard such a generous proffer as according to his noble 
birth and obliging genious ours makes. Else he would betray little 
affection to his own people. The Lord Marquess of Vaudreuil has 
got a letter for Madam Vetch which he's very glad to see safely 
convey'd unto her. I pray Sir you with all my heart to present un- 
to her my most humble respects. We have at Kebeck two vessels 
by means whereof we have had this information. In Spain the 
King and under him the Duke of Vendome have upon the 9 and 10 
of December Last fought a great battle wherein an army of 25,000 
men has been routed. General Stanhope and 5,000 others taken 
prisoners at Brihuega. General Staremburg with 4,000 men only 
made their escape and retired to Barcelona whither before him the 
Archduke of Austria repaired. The Duke of Vendome was in March 
to besiege that city. 80 Ships with 6,000 men sent from Eng- 
land and Holland to relieve it have all of them been destroyed by a 
storm. The King of Sweeden with 200,000 Tartars invade Moscovy 
and Poland. At his approach the Northern & German crowns with- 
draw their troops from the Netherlands. The Parliament of Eng- 
land consisting of Presbyterians has been dissolved, and another 

'The Indians of Saint-Louis or Caughnawaga were Mohawks of the Iroquois 


called, whereof all members are Episcopalians. At Brest in Little 
Britain, there is a great navy preparing for a design that is kept 
very secret. The galiion of [^illegible] are come in safe. The 
people of France are very \inegible\ their King for the prosecu- 
tion of the war. The paper money has been taken away and rent 
assigned for the ready paiement thereof. The Duke of Noailles 
who has taken Girona is to joyn the Duke of Vendome for the siege 
at Barcelona with 25,000 men. The English and Hollanders having 
sent to the Most Christian King sueing for peace his Majesty won't 
yield to their proposition. A French squadron under the command 
of Mr DuClerc had landed 800 men at Rio Janeiro in the river of 
the Amazon and had taken the town. But 15000 Portuguese hav- 
ing fain upon them have made them prisoners of war. The ships 
are come safe. There is also a flying report that there is in old 
England a navy of 3,000 men fitting out for an expedition against 
New France. Our army in Flanders is of 130,000 men under Mar- 
shal Villars. Some say the King will be at the head thereof. That 
of the Allies commanded by the Duke of Marlborough is far infer- 
ior. There is no mention of Prince Eugene. We do hourly expect 
two other French vessels from Rochel. If they bring freshe tidings 
and I find an opportunity to make them known to you I shall. 
Write, I pray, to me from Albany and afterwards from New Eng- 
land. I have sent your letters to Kebeck. Do my commendations 
to my acquaintance at Wells, and at Boston, namely to Mr Hern a 
Lawyer to Mrs. Rawlings and her father and to Mrs. Mary Pleisted 
to Catharine Leatherby to Lieutenant Josiah Littlefield to Mr Sam- 
uel Emery, to Lieutenant Thomas Baker &c I remain 

Out of Acadia we have the Sir 

confirmation of the news we Your Most 

had already had that most of Humble Servant 

the souldiers of the garrison Meriel Prieft. 

at Port Royal were dead of 
the scurvy. 

Ville-Marie in the 
Island of Montreal 
June 25. 171 i" 



Letter from Governor Dudley of Mass. to Governor Hun- 
ter of N. Y.: 

"Boston 31 Decern', 171 1.' 

This last post 1 troubled you with a letter referring to a 
Letter J sent to Albany directed to Mr Voderil for the Exchange of 
prisoners which I have holden with him these nine years past and 
since I sent AL Boveney a french ensign who J have had in my 
hands these two yeares (in exchange for whom mr voderil the last 
spring sent me Captain Harmon an English officer) with a passport 
to returne home by way of Albany by whom J further acquainted 
Mr Voderil that 1 had in my hands forty french prisoners which J 
offered him in Exchange for as many of mine Jn his hands both my 
said Letters & Boveney are stayed by the Gentlemen at Albany for 
your Excellencys allowance as they write, I pray of you s"" that the 
said french prisoner & the Letters may be allowed to pass that I 
may have her majestys subjects return & may be quit of the french- 
men in my hands which J judge is for her Majesty's service <S: very 
well accepted at all times by her majesty's government, if the send- 
ing by Albany be a trouble J will avoyd it for the future he the said 
M"" Boveney was sent with General Hill into Canada river to be sent 
home and is now in Albany at his own desire & will find the way 
home with my letter with a couple of straggling Indians if he may 
be allowed which is what J Desire of your Excellency if it may con- 
sist with your own good opinion 
1 am ^"^ 

Your Excellency** 

most faithful 

humble servant 

J. D." 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 2, p. 462. 


"To his Ex'^J' 

Joseph Dudley Esq"" Gov"" 

and Capt. Gen" of her Maty^ 
Province of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. ^ 

I am honor'd with two of yours relateing to the Gentleman^ 
upon his returne to Canada. Upon advice from the Commissioners 
at Albany of that persons being arrivd there 1 consulted her Maj- 
esty's council here, who were of opinion that as matters stood it was 
neither safe nor expedient to let him proceed at this time, consider- 
ing our own ill posture and the advices he might give as to the state 
of the Roads and Lakes by which he was to passe. Upon which I 
sent to detain him till further orders; the Roads are such at present 
as he could not possibly wade through So soon as they are more 
practicable, I fhall Send orders to let him goe and accommodate 
him with what may be necessary, But I must Intreat you for the fu- 
ture to give me notice of all such as you send that way, there being 
a strict prohibition on the frontiers of Suffering any to goe that way 
without leave of y*" Government not without Good cause. I Shall 
In all my best Indeavour to approve mySelf 
Your Ex''^'^ most obedt 

Humble Servant 

Ro. Hunter. 
N. York 

y** 15 Jan. 1711-12." 

On the above letter of Gov. Hunter is endorsed the follow- 
ing, which is evidently a copy of Dudley's answer : 

"Boston, 29"' January, 17 11. 

There are eight years past since J have had Exchanges of 
prisoners with M^ Vodruelle which has Occafioned many Letters 
and Mefsages between M"". Vaudruelle and mySelf and J have Gen- 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 2, p. 463. This letter is endorsed "Gov. Hunter's 
L' relating to Boveney 15 Jan. 1711. Read in Council 30 Januar}'." 

^i. e. "Boveney." 


erally Sent them by Albany and have had from Canada by Several 
Ways by Sea and Land some hundreds of prifoners and have Sent 
more to him and have now Forty that J Keep at great Charge to 
Exchange for as many and More that are in French hands of Her 
Majesty's good Subjects. The Letters that Accompany M''. Bove- 
ney the Frenchman are to procure this Exchange at the Earnest 
Desire of the Assembly & Council of this Province at all times to 
whom J Communicate always what J write to that Side, and would 
be Glad J could Communicate with you at all times in this and Ev- 
erything Else Jmporting Her Majesty's Service. Boveney now at 
Albany is a poor Country Boy for whome J ReC' Captain Harmon 
a very Good Officer and must Returne again if J cannot Get Bove- 
ney home he was in the Fleet going to Canada with the General to 
have returned that way and being unfortunate there J thought this 
the best way J could be Glad while he Stays those Letters might go 
forward otherwise J shall have no Exchange the Spring coming and 
if Boveney may not go home Soon J must Send Some other way to 
Acquaint M'' Vaudruelle That I have Captain Harmon and That 
Boveney Shall come as soon as J can Tho if sould be Stayed till 
News from Great Britain it will be worse to Send him then, then it 
is now 

I am S"- 

Your Excellencys 

most ffaithfuU Humble 


J Dudley." 
Letter to Col. Satntiel Partridge of Hatfield, Mass., from 
Jonas [or Jona] Douw :' 

"Albany y<^ 15*'' Desemb'' 1712 
S"" this gives Occation to me to write to You Since J did 

Some time ago Give mr Sam" Afhley a power of attorney to Re- 
ceive Such Sumse of money Due to me for Keeping of mr Bouene 
de Verfhare J find Your promife for the payment when J should 
Send a power of atterney to Receive the same but J at Constant 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 3, p. 130. 


Trouble Giveing power to Receive Such Demands as proposed by 
Your Selfe and as Yet Nothing Comes to Perfection S'' J Earnestly 
Desire of You to lett me know the Reafon my Moneys is Detained 
from me and you will Verry much obleadge me 
S"^ Your Verry humb'^ 


Jona Douw" 

Letter from Col. Samuel Partridge to Governor Dudley:^ 

"Hatfield, dec: 31 1712 

May it pleafe yo"" Excellency 

I have this day the Return of 
the poft from Albany who have reach*^ the Frentch Mefsengers & 
the Letters J Rec'^ of m'' Williams are fent by them for Canada as 
J suppofe yo"" Selfe is Enform'd by the Enclofsed from Albany to 
yo"" Self & by m'' Rob' Levinftons Letter here Enclofsed alsoe, 
Capt. Jonas Dowe follows me with Letters for to be payd for his 
Keeping Monf Bovenee de Versher 13 or 14 Months at 21^^ o^ od 
or thereabouts he never had any Engagem' from me Jn the day of 
it J fent the s'' de Versher to Col. Shuyler according to directions 
he s'l Dowe infifts on the paym* of the Money or the Reason why it 
is not done J have Enclofed his Letter & Wee have No Occurent 
hath happened & are in quiett at p'^fent J am informed by the poft 
that an Jndian from Canada s'''' there is no Motion of Warr goeing 
forward there with my Humble Service p'^sented to yo'' Self Madame 
Dudley & yo' whole family. Rendering my Selfe Much oblidged 
in Obeydience & am yo"' verry Humble Serv' 

Sam" Partridge." 

P. S " 


In the correspondence between the Governors of Canada 

'Mass. Archives, Vol. 3, p. 130. 


and New England quoted in the story of Eunice Williams, 
p. 146, ante} 

De Vaudreuil writes : 

"Your Interpreter has ill-explained my Letter in that you 

did not furnish Mr Dagueille with anything I complain with 

reason that in sending me three prisoners by him you obliged him 
to furnish them out of his own money with provisions and other 

necessaries for the return of those three men, contenting 

yourself as he and the}^ inform me, with wishing them a good jour- 

To this charge Dudley replies : 

''1 dare appeal to any disinterested and competent judges as to 
my invariable conduct in regard to supplies and provisions for the 

French captives returned by Mr Lesguilles [DagueilleJ It 

has exceeded and never fallen short of what has been done for my 
poor people elsewhere," 

Letter from General Nicholson and others to M. de Vaudreiul.'-' 

"Annapolis Royal, 11. oct. 17 10. 

It having pleased God to bless with success, the just and 
royal enterprise of Her Majesty Anne, ... . Queen of England, 
France and Ireland, defender of the faith, by reducing to her sub- 
jection the Fort of Port-Royal and the country adjacent, we 

think it proper to inform you that, since you have made several at- 
tacks upon her Majesty's frontiers, your cruel and barbarous Sav- 
ages and Frenchmen having inhumanly massacred many poor peo- 

'Letter from De Vaudreuil to Dudley, Montreal, June 12, 1713. Dudley's 
reply, Boston, June 27, 1713. Mass. Archives, Vol. 2, pp. 631-636. 

*Doc. Pub. a Quebec, Vol. II., p. 524. 


pie and children, in case the French after your receipt of this letter, 
shall commit any hostilities and barbarities, immediately upon in- 
formation of such acts, we will avenge ourselves by similar atroci- 
ties upon your people in Acadia. But as we abhor the cruelty of 
your Savages in war, we hope that you will give us no occasion to 

imitate them you have a great number of prisoners under 

your jurisdiction, especially a young girl, the daughter of the Rev. 
Mr. Williams, Minister of Deerfield, we hope that you will have 
all the Said prisoners ready to be delivered up, at the first flag 
of truce that we shall send, in the month of May next; otherwise 
you may expect that an equal number of the inhabitants of this 
country will be enslaved among our savages uutil there shall be a 
complete restitution of the subjects of Her Majesty, whether they 

be in the possession of the French or Indians 

[Signed] F. Nicholson, 
Sam Vetch, 
Charles F. Ebbey, 
Robert Reading, 
G. Martin, 
Thomas Mathew, 
WilHam Bidele, 
George Gordon." 

De Vaudreuil speaks as follows of the above letter, and of 
his action thereupon in a letter to the French Minister dated 
25th April, 1711:^ 

"M. de Subercase having surrendered on the 13th of October, 
he and M'' Nicholson, General and Commander-in-Chief of the 
Queen of England's forces on this Continent, have both sent Baron 
de St Castine and Major Levingston to me through the forest. I 
annex hereunto, My Lord, the letter M"^ Nicholson has written me 
and my answer to him, which I have sent by Mess" de Rouville and 
Depuis, being very glad to employ these two officers on this occasion 
in order to obtain information through them of the movements of 

'N. Y. Col. Doc, Vol. IX, p. 853, et, seq. See also a resume ol this letter, 
dated 8. novembre 1711 in Doc. Rel., &c., &c., Vol. II., p. 546. 


our enemies, and at the Same time to make them acquainted with 
the Country and the most favorable routes to send parties thither." 
On the 15th of June, 171 1, Costebello, Commandant at 
Plaisance, writes that he has "sent the Sieur de la Ronde- 
Denis to Boston concerning- an exchange of prisoners. He 
will reclaim Pere Justinian and bring him back to Plais- 
ance."^ Father Justinian was a Recollet priest, missionary 
and aire of Port-Royal, who in January, 17 10, while cele- 
brating mass, had been captured with five of his flock, car- 
ried, to Boston and imprisoned there, where one had died. 
That Father Justinian was not released appears probable 
from the following: 

"At a Council held Munday 2nd of April, 171 1."' 
The Honourable Governour Vetch Commander-in-Chief of Her 
Majesty's Fort of Annapolis Royall and the Country of Nova Scotia 
&'==^, representing that Father Justinian a French Priest a lawfuU 
Prisoner of War taken within the Government under his Care was 
brought hither by his order with design to obtain Mr. Williams' 
daughter in exchange for him having hitherto been supported at his 
charge, and that being now about to return to his Government, he 
shall otherwise dispose of him; unless the Government be willing to 
take him into their care to be exchanged for Mr. William's daugh- 
ter or some other valuable Prisoner. 

Advised that the said Priest be kept to be exchanged accordingly." 

Sieur de la Ronde-Denis came several times to Bos- 
ton, as ambassador from Bonaventure, Governor of Port- 

"At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston, 22nd of Feb- 
ruary, 1705. His Excellency [Dudley.] communicated to the Coun- 
cil a Letter from Mr. Bonaventure Commander at Port Royal re- 
ceived by the hand of a French Gentleman whom he sent hither 

'Doc. Pub. a Quebec, Vol. II, pp. 537-8. 
^Council Records, 1708-1712, Vol. 5, p. 365. 


with Capt. Rouse who arrived two days since and brought seventeen 
E^nghsh prisoners, and all appeared at the Board." 

"At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon Wed- 
nesday the 17th of April 1706. His Excellency acquainted the 
Council that Mr L'Ronde Messenger from Mr. Bonaventure Com- 
mander at Port-Royal is very desirous to return the time for his 
stay here being pafs'd and there being several French prisoners to 
be sent thither and of ours there to be brought from thence. 

Ordered, That M"' Commissary General do take up and dispatch a 
suitable Vessel for the transporting of the s'' Mr L'Ronde with the 
French prisoners, and for bringing home ours from thence accord- 

J. Dudley. 

His Excellency communicated the Draft of his letter to Mr. Bona- 
venture to be sent by Mr. L'Ronde."^ 

The real purpose of De la Ronde's mission appears in the 
following resume of a letter from Bonaventure to the French 
MinivSter, dated Port-Royal, Dec. 24, 1706: 

"He had sent the Sieur de la Ronde-Denis to Boston, under pre- 
text of informing himself of what had been done between M. de 
Vaudreuil, and the governor of Boston about an exchange, in order 
that he might examine the harbors, ports, and forces of the colony — 
This he has done so that he (Bonaventure) is in a condition to at- 
tack this colony (Boston) if he had a sufficient force. "^ 

Concerning this embassy the Minister writes to the Sieur 
de la Ronde-Denis: 

A Versailles 30th June 1707 
"1 am satisfied with your account of your journey to Baston and 
to Quebec for the exchange of prisoners, and I am very glad that 
you have taken cognizance of the ports of the coast from Port-Royal 

to Baston You have only to follow the orders of M. de 

Subercase, and devote yourself especially to interrupting the com- 
merce of Baston" 

'Council Records, Vol. 4, pp. 265-266. 
"Doc. Pub, a Quebec, Vol. II., p. 462. 


Writing on the same date to De Subercase, the Minister 
says : 

"1 am very glad that the Governor of Baston has sent back the 
man named Baptiste who has been a prisoner there for four years. 

You can employ him in teaching navigation to the young men of 
the country, since they prefer this trade, rather than to work on the 

An account of an "Enterprize des Bastonnias sur I'Acadie" 
dated July 6, 1707,^ mentions Subercase "accompanied by the 
vSieurs de la Ronde, Faillant, and Baptiste, and about 200 
men," attempting to defend the mouth of the Gaspereau 
against the Bastonnais. 

Here we have evidence of Baptiste's return to Port-Royal 
previous to June 30, 1707. 

The Sieur de la Ronde came twice, at least, to Boston after 
this: in June, 171 1, when he demanded Father Justinian, 
and again in October, 1723. 

What tales the Council Chamber of the old vState House in 
Boston might tell. 

At a meeting of the Council Munday 2nd of April 1711.^ "His 
Excellency proposed the sending of the Indian Woman lately taken 
by the troops under Colonel Walton with a Letter directed to Moxis 
the Eastern Indian Sagamore importing that if he will procure M"" 
Williams daughter from her Indian Master at Canada & send her 
hither that then this squaw & her son & daughter (who are to be de- 
tained as hostages for her return again) shall be sett at liberty & 
returned home." 

The return of Maj. Livingston and his French escort ap- 
pears as follows in our Archives:^ 

'Doc. Pub. a Quebec, Vol. II, pp. 475-6. 
'•'Doc. Pub. a Quebec, Vol. II, p. 477. 
^Council Records, Vol. 5, pp. 350-351. 
■•Council Records, " " " 


"At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon Satur- 
day the 24th of February, 17 10 

Present His Excellency Joseph Dudley Esq'"^^ Governor 
Wait Winthrop 

Elisha Hutchinson Esq'''^^ Penn Townsend 

Samuel Sewall Andrew Belcher Esq'''* 

Peter Sergeant Edw'^ Bromfield 

John Walley Esq''=^ 
Wm Hutchmson 
Isaac Addington Esq'''* 

Major Livingston arriving here yesterday from Canada accom- 
panied with some French Gent" who brought Letters from M'' Vau- 
dreuille to his excellency to the Hon^''** Col Vetch &c 

His Excellency communicated his letter to the Council it cheifly 
■ referring to an exchange of Prisoners as also did Col Vetch his 

And his Excellency gave directions in writing to Mr Commissary 
General and Mr Sheriff Dyer to visit the said French Gent" now at 
the George 'Pavern^ & offer their service to them in settling their 
quarters where they are & at the houses adjoining and to acquaint 
them that the sherriffe will attend them to the Town House in Bos- 
ton on Monday next three o'clock afternoon where the Governor 
will see them in Council to receive their Credentials and withall to 
let them understand the Governor has assigned that House where 
they are for their entertainment and will take care that they be not 
imposed upon by excessive rates for their expences." 

"At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon Mon- 
day the 26*'' of February 1710.^ 

Present [as above.] 
Pursuant to the intimation given on Saturday last to Mess''** D'Rou- 
ville and Dupuix Messengers from M. Vaudreuille Governor of Can- 
ada they were admitted to attend the Governor in Council, and 
shew'* forth their credentials; His Excellency assured them, the ac- 

'"George Tavern" on the Neck near Roxbury line. Gen. Court sat there 
in 1721. "George Tavern" same as "Castle Tavern" corner of Dock Square 
and Elm St. 

'■'Council Records, Vol. 5, p. 355. 


compt depending betwixt this government and M' Vaudreuille for 
money by him advanced to Mess'" Appleton & Sheldon in their re- 
spective negotiations at Quebeck should be forthwith adjusted and 
the Ballance paid and that he will confer with them upon the pro- 
posal for the exchange of prisoners on both sides, if they can come 
to a mutual agreement thereabout; so as to dispatch them this week 
without being detained longer agreeable to M' Vaudruille's desire in 
his letter and return before the Ice begone." 

Sewall, the omniscient, has the following: 

"Feb 26. 1710-11 

This day p. m. the Gov' has the French Messengers from Canada 
in Council; Had the Councillors on his Left hand, Col. Vetch and 
them on his right; on the right also were Mr. Secretary and Mr. 
Commissary. Read their Credentials by Mr Weaver the Interpreter. 
Reprimanded one Anthony Oliver' forgoing to them at Meers's^ and 
to the Frier without leave; made him take the Oaths, and subscribe 
to the Declaration.'' Told the Messengers they should depart that 
day sennight as had told the Council with some Spirit, last Satterday: 
at which time Col. Vetch said the people of N. E. were generally 
given to Lying; to which the Gov"" said not a word." 

"At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston upon Satur- 
day y*" 3'"^ March, 1710.^ 

Ordered that Mess'** Rouville & Dupuix Commissioners from Mon^ 
D'Vaudruille Governor of Canada to negotiate an exchange of Pris- 
oners on both sides be allowed twenty shillings p' Diem for their 
Table during their stay in this Government 

And that M'' Commissary General make up the account of the 
charge of the two men and the Horses that attended 'em from Re- 
hoboth to Boston and have been detained to accompany them back 
as far as New London and pay the men for their service at the rate 

'Antoine Olivier, Huguenot of Boston. 

^Samuel Means kept the Sun Tavern in Corn-C-ourl near Dock Square. 

^These are the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and the Declaration 
against Transubstantiation. 
•"Council Records, Vol. 5. 


of eighteen pence per man and twelve pence for a horse p' Diem 
over & above men & horses subsistence until the return back to Re- 
hoboth Articles for the Exchange of prisoners proposed and con- 
certed between His Excellency & the said Mess''^ Rouville & Dupuix 
on the part of Governour Vaudruille were read & approved" 

"An Accompt presented by Andrew Belcher Esq'' Commissary Gen- 
eral of twenty-eight pounds sixteen shill^ paid to Mess""* Rouville 
and Dupuix Messingers from jVP Vaudruille Governour of Canada 
being the Ballance of the account of money M"" VaudriuUe supplyed 
to Mess" Appleton & Shelden in their respective Attendances on 
him from this Government and for exchange of the money paid 

And the further sum of Sixty two pounds four shillings & two pence 
paid charges of men & horses & coach hire attending the said Mess'** 
Rouville & Dupuix in their way thither [hither?] and return as far 
as New London & for their entertainment whilest they remained 
here, the whole amounting to ninety one pounds and two pence, 
read accepted and 

Advised. & Consented That a Warrant be made out thereupon to 
the Treasurer to reimburse & pay the said Andrew Belcher Esq"' the 
aforesaid sum of ninety one pounds." 

The date of the return of the Frenchmen is given lis in a 
letter to the Minister from De Vaudreuil, dated Quebec, 
25th of April, 171 1. He says "Sieurs de Rouville and Du- 
puis arrived at Chambly eight or ten days ago. The Eng- 
lish had not received any news from Europe up to the 17th 
of March, the date of their departure from Boston." 

They carried a "Roll of English Prisoners in the Hands 
of the French and Indians at Canada" 1710-11. 

A duplicate of this list is in our Archives. It contains the 
names of 113 New England captives with a few repetitions. 
Among them are "The Minister's Daughter, Deerfield," 
Johnson Harmon, Mary Sawyerd, Hester Sawyard, all of 
York, Mary Silver, Haverhill, Hester Wheelwright, Wells. 
On the back of the list is the following letter : 


"Boston 5"' March 1710.1 

This comes to your hand by Mess" D'Rouville & Depuis 
Messengers from Mr D'Voudruille I have to thank your kind Dis- 
creation in sending them the Round Way that they might not know 
our Albany Road, upon the Same Consideration I have Returned 
them the same way & am Glad we have had no News from Europe 
dureing their stay here & hope to have them Dispatch before any. 
thing Arrive. They have shewed themselves good men here have 
signed Articles with me for the Rendition of all Prisoners in June 
next. I pray you to speed them away as soon as possible. 

I am Sir your very humble Serv*- 
J. Dudley. 
To. Col. Schuyler." 


From the Records at Caughnawaga. 

Since John Schuyler's Memorial, little has been known of 
Eunice Williams. It is hoped that the following may throw 
light upon her later history. 

Baptismal records at the mission of Sault Saint-Louis, 
(Caughnawaga) exist from March i, 1735, to March 10, 1745. 
From this to March 25, 1753, they are wanting. After that 
to the present date they are complete. 

Marriage records exist from Sept. 30, 1743, to June, 24, 
1747, and from Jan. 29, 1763, forward to this day. 

Records of deaths begin January, 1762. 

From this it will be seen that the baptism of Eunice Wil- 

'Evidently this date should be 1710-11. 


liams as Margaret, and her marriage, both previous to Schuy- 
ler's visit (about i7i3)donot appear on Caughnawaga rec- 
ords, nor does her English name. 

Nehemiah Howe in his narrative of his own captivity, says 
that at Crown Point he saw an "Indian named Amrusus, 
husband to her who was Eunice Williams." 

Mr. Edward W. Williams, Jr., quotes the name Amrusus 
from Mr. Sheldon, and says that it was "roughly civilized 
into Toroso." It is with diffidence that I have declined to 
accept the name Amrusus, and prefer to await further 
knowledge. Nehemiah How saw and talked with Eunice's 
husband, but he cannot be taken as authority on either French 
or Indian proper names. Possibly Amrusus is a corruption 
of Ambroise, a favorite French name in Canada. Rev. 
J. G. L. Forbes, a scholarly man, an adept in the Iroquois lan- 
guage, cure of Caughnawaga and a diligent student of its 
records, says that the name Amrusus does not appear there. 

"Toroso and Amrusus," writes Mr. Forbes, "are certainly 
corrupt names. They are not Iroquois at all. They remind 
one of "Arosen" and "Tekentarosen," which are Iroquois, 
and proper names for men." The records of Caughnawaga 
have been carefully studied in the hope of finding a name 
sueeestive of Amrusus or Toroso. Arosen and Tekentarosen 
occur as masculine names, but nowhere in connection with 
Eunice Williams or her children. The impartial research 
and patient labor of Mr. Forbes, with his knowledge of the 
Iroquois language has furnished me with authenticated ex- 
tracts from the registers, otherwise impossible to me. From 
these, and what I have been able to supply from the New 
England end of the story of Eunice, I am able to collate 
what follows : 

On Caughnawaga records a certain Marguerite with an 
Indian name of four variations, was four times godmother. 


On one of these occasionvS, she was godmother to the child 
of an Indian named Karenhisen. 

A Catharine was also g-odmother to one of Karenhisen's 
children. It is now and always has been a custom of the 
Caughnawaga Indians for kinswomen of the father to stand 
for his children. Therefore, Mr. Forbes concludes that Mar- 
guerite and Catharine were kinswomen of Karenhisen, and 
probably related to each other. 

We know that Eunice (Marguerite) had a daughter Catha- 
rine. Why may we not assume that this Marguerite was 
Eunice, and this Catharine her daughter ? Admitting this, 
we get here Eunice's Indian name, given in these four bap- 
tismal records with four variations, viz.: Marguerite Saon'got, 
Marguerite Gon'aongote, Marguerite Saongote and Margue- 
rite Aongote. 

"This name," says Mr. Forbes, "may be translated 'They 
took her and placed her as a member of their tribe.' " It thus 
appears, that whoever this godmother was, she did not be- 
long by birth to the tribe : "they took her and placed her as 
a member of their tribe." If this be Eunice Williams, as I 
believe, what more touching and appropriate name could 
have been given her ? 

The order and the dates of the births of Eunice's children 
are unknown. Rev. James Dean, missionary to the Indians 
at Caughnawaga and Saint-Francis in 1773 and 1774, knew 
Eunice well. He wrote to her brother Stephen Nov. 12, 
1774.' "She has two daughters & one grandson which are 
all the Descendants she has." 

John, son of Eunice, died childless at Lake George, in 
1758^. Catharine, daughter of Eunice, [see antc\ appears on 
Caughnawaga records as Catharine Asonnontie and Catha- 
rine Kassinontie. (Flying leg.) 

'Sheldon's Mist, of Deerfield, Vol. i, p. 351. 
'^William Ward Wight's "Eleazer Williams." 


There is no record of her marriage. Her husband was 
Francois Xavier Onasategen. They had no children, but 
adopted two. Onasategen died in 1805. Catharine (Flying 
leg) his wife, in 1807. 

"Le douze septembre mil huit cent sept par moi pretre soussigne 
a ete inhumee dans le cimitiere de cette mission Catherine Kasinontie, 
sauvagesse de ce village, decedee I'avant veille, agee d'environ quatre 
vingts ans, veuve de Frangois-Xavier Onasategen. Presents Charles 
SaSennoSane et Simon Tagaratensera, qui n'ont su signer. 

(Signed) A: Van Felson ptre." 
''Le vingt six Juin mil huit cent cinq par moi pretre soussigne, a 
ete inhume dans I'Eglise de cette Mission, Franyois Xavier Onasate- 
gen, Grand Chef de ce Village, decede la veille, age de pres de 
Quatre vingts ans, epoux de Catherine Gassinontie. presents Mess- 
ieurs Jean Baptiste Bruguier, Cure de Chateaugai, Pierre Consigny 
de la Chine, et autres, soussignes 

(Signed) A: SanFelson ptre 

Bruguier ptre 

Pierre Consigny ptre 

Ch*" De Lorimier Fe clerc miss." 

It is through Onasategen, Catharine's husband, that we 
recognize the following as the record of Eunice's (Margue- 
rite's) burial : 

"1785. Le vingt six novembre j ai inhume Marguerite belle-mere 
dannasategen elle etait agee de quatre vingt quinze ans. 
(Signed) L. Ducharme. miss:" 

Translation. "On the twenty-sixth of Novembre, 1785, I have 
buried Marguerite, mother-in-law of Onasategen. She was ninety- 
five years old." 

Signed, L. Ducharme, Mission priest." 

So after all the vicissitudes of her life, it is only as the 
mother-in-law of the "Grand Chef Onasategen," that Eunice 
Williams's death is noticed. Dotibtless these vicissitudes 
had made her look older than she was. She was born in 


September, 1696, and would therefore have been eighty-nine 
at her death. 

We have seen that two out of Eunice's three children died 
without issue. Mary is the only child of Eunice through 
whom we can trace the descent. The name of her husband, 
the father of her children, has hitherto eluded search. Mr. 
Wight quoting Eleazer's statement on this point, leaves it 
without a shadow of credibility and says, "The fact is that 
the husband of Sarah, [meaning Mary] was an Indian of un- 
known, mayhap of unpossessed name." 

The following extracts from the records at Caughnawaga, 
establish the fact that Eunice's daughters were Catharine, 
who died without children, and Mary, [not Sarah] who be- 
came the mother of Thomas. 

Mary appears on the records of Caughnawaga as Marie 
Skentsiese. (New fish.) 

There is no record of her marriage. Her husband's name 
heretofore unknown, was Louis Satagaienton. (Equally 
sown.) The only child of this marriage was Thomas, bap- 
tized as follows : 

"1759 Die 6. jaii: ego idem [J. B. Denonville S. J.] Baptizavi 
cum ecclesiae ceremoniis puerum recens natum ex patre Ludovico 
Sateguienton et matre Maria Skentsiese conjugibus quern Thomam 
nominavit Tliomas Taronhiagannere." 

Translation. ''On the sixtli day of January, 1759, I, the same 
[the priest here refers to his own name J. B. Denonville of the So- 
ciety of Jesus,] have baptized with the rites of the church, a new- 
born boy, the father Louis Sataguienton, the mother Marie Skent- 
siese, husband and wife, whom Thomas Taronhiagannere' named 

Thomas Thorakwanneken or Tehorakwanneken, (Two 
suns together,) of whose Indian name there are several vari- 

'The godfather. 


ations, was the only child of Louis Sataguienton and Marie 
Skentsiese. His mother's death is thus recorded : 

"Mai le 14. 1779 a ete enterree Marie femme de Satagaienton, 
agee d'environ 40 ans. G. S. [grand service] sur le corps. 

Jo^ Huguet ptre. S. J." 

Out of respect to his wife's ancestry, Louis Sataguienton 
had taken the name of Williams. He married a second 
time, Jan. 29, 1780,^ still keeping the name of Williams, 
which his children by his second wife also assumed. 

His first child by his second wife was born Oct. 27, 1780.^ 
Louis Satagaienton died in 1803. His widow died in 1812.^ 
Thomas Tehorakwenneken, the only child of Louis Satagai- 
enton by his first wife, Marie vSkentsiese, the daughter of 
Eunice Williams, married in 1779.' 

"Janvier le 7, 1779 Thomas teHorakSannegen a epouse Marie 
Anne, fille de HaronkioSannen.^ 

"7. 7bre 17S0 idem [i. e. Jo^ Huguet priest S. J.] supplevi ceremo- 
niasbaptismi in puerum pridie natumexpatre Thoma teHorakwanne- 
gen et ex matre Maria Anna GonateSenteton, conjugibus, quem 
Joannem Baptistam nominavit Catharina honnasategen conjux."^ 

Translation. "On the seventh of September, 1780, I, Jo* Huguet 
priest S. J. have administered the rite of baptism to a boy born the 
day before, son of Thomas Tehorakwannegen and Mary Anne 
GonateSenteton, husband and wife, whom Catharine the wife of 
Onosategen, has named Jean Baptiste." 

The above is interesting because the godmother was 
Thomas's aunt Catharine, daughter of Eunice, and grand- 
daughter of Rev. John Williams, — who gave to the baby the 
name of John. 

Catharine was godmother also to Thomas's second child, 

'Caughnawaga Records. 

"Mr. Wight says that she was descended from a Marlboro captive named 


a girl whom she named for herself.' Catharine's adopted 
daughter Louise was godmother to Thomas's third ehild, 
whom she named Louise.' Catharine, daughter of Euniee 
and wife of Onosategen, died in 1807.' 

The reeords at Caughnawaga give the births of elevxm 
children to Thomas. We have plenty of evidence that 
Eleazer also was his son. There are now in Caughnawaga 
several grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Thomas 


Rev. John Williams married successively two cousins, 
granddaughters of Rev. John Warham of Windsor, Conn. 
His first wife and all their children except Eleazer, the eld- 
est, who was away at school, and two who died previously, 
were either killed or captured, Feb. 29, 1 703-4. 

Eleazer became the minister of Mansfield, Conn. 

Samuel died unmarried in 171 3. 

Esther married Rev. Joseph Meacham of Coventry, Conn. 

Stephen became the minister of Longmeadow, Mass. 

Eunice remained in Canada. 

Warham became the minister of Watertown, West Pre- 
cinct, now Waltham, Mass. 

Rev. Stephen Williams of Longmeadow, kept a diary for 
many years. It consists of eleven Mss. volumes, very close- 
ly written scarcely punctuated and with many abbreviations 
peculiar to himself. One volume was burned in the fire 
which destroyed the old parsonage in 1 846. The part cover- 

'Caughnawaga Records. 


ing the period between 1738 and 1742 inclusive, consists of 
591 pages. The narrative of his captivity, carefully edited 
by Mr. Sheldon, has been published by the P. V. M. Associa- 
tion of Deerfield. Through the generous courtesy of the 
custodians of the diary, that part which relates to the first 
two visits of Eunice Williams to New 'England are here pub- 
lished for the first time. The name of her husband has not 
yet been found in this diary, though careful search has been 
made for it. 


"1740. Aug. 9. Saturday this day I have a letter [fromj Al- 

bany informing me y*^ my sister Eunice is expected at 
Albany next week & I am desired to go thither. 


11 I have wrote to my br at M Glueing him an acct of 
wh* I have heard o [from] Albany & wait this day to 
see whether he'll come & oh yt God w'' direct & help 
us all in this weighty affair 

12 This day I set out to Albany accompanied' by my br 
w of m & my brother Meacham we had a comfortable 
journey and got to Albany on y*^ 15"' y*^ particulars of 
w'h I met with till y^ 

27 [I have wr**^ in my travailing journal w'h 1 propose to 

keep] when we had (ye joyfuU Sorrowful meeting of o"" 
poor Sister y* we had been separated [from] for above 
36 years) Ye next day [28*'^] we got her and her Hus- 
band' promise to go with us to my house & tarry w'^ 
us 4 days, we prepar'd for our journey & set out from 
Albany Aug 29, & thro y*^ Good hand of God upon us 
Got safely to my house on ye a'"* Tuesday of Sep*^: at 
n'' [night] & (ye whole place Seemed to be greatly 
moved at our coming) Yt Evening Capt K (Kellogue)i 
came to us 

'Joseph Kellogg, a Deerfield captive, returned and served as Interpreter in 
New England. 


Sept. 3. Wed this m [morning] my Brother E. W. & Br m' 

went home Capt. Kellogue' sister came to us and 
y" neighbours came in & shew'' Great kindness &: Mr 
Edwards of N. H. came to visitt us^ 


4 This m I morning] we gain'd a promise o [from] my 
Sister & Husband to tarry with us untill Monday night 
Capt K left us but his sister tarry'' B"" Ehjah W'"'«'' & 
Aunt W'"** of Hatf'' and Sister Meacham come to us. 


5 Clutter'' & full of care & company joy & sorrow hope & 
fear. This day came Hither cosen Jn'^th" Hunf* Mr 
Estabrook an two of Brother W"'^ daugters."^ 


6 This day Aunt Hawley came hither & went along 
Colen" Stoddard/ Cozen J. S. Hunt & Sister Hinsdell." 
Uncle Park W'"*^ and his xdren came hither & I sent 
to Capt. Kellogue^ neighbors & friends show great 
kindness affection & respect 

7 Sabbath my poor sister Attend'' y'^ publick worship with us both 

parts of ye day oh yt this might be as a pledge y'' she 
'Eleazer Williams and Joseph Meacham. 

-Rev. Jonathan Edwards, the great revivalist, then minister at Northamp- 
ton, Mass. 

^Half brother to Rev. Stephen Williams. 

■^Jonathan Hunt of Deerfield, Northfield and Northampton married Martha, 
daughter of Samuel Williams of Pomfret, Conn, He was grandfather of Lieut. 
Gov. Jonathan Hunt of Vernon. Vt., and great-great-grandfather of the late 
William Morris Hunt, artist, and Richard M. Hunt, architect. 

•"'Rev. Hobart Estabrook married one of the daughters of Rev. Eleazer Wil- 
liams of Mansfield, Conn. 

^Colonel John Stoddard of Northampton, son of Rev. Solomon Stoddard, 
^^bigail, half-sister of Rev. Stephen Williams, married (i.) Col. and Rev. 
Ebenezer Hinsdell, founder of Hinsdale, N. H. 

'^Son of Samuel and brother to Rev. John Williams, lived in Lebanon, 

'•'Joseph Kellogg, Interpreter. 


may return to the house & ordinances of God o [from] 
w'^'' she has been so long separated In y^' Evening we 
(Col. S. assisting t directing) had a Set discourse with 
my Sister ■!• her husband and tho we could not ob- 
tain of y"' to tarry w"' us yet [theyji have promis'd us 
y' now the way is open [they] will certainly come & 
make a visit & spend a winter in y« country among 
y"" Friends [they] seem in earnest & say [they] wont 
be divert''' unless it be something very extraordinary 

Sept 8 Monday Uncle & Aunt E^dwards'^ Br W & Br m & many 
friends & neighbors come to visit us o'' neighbors sent 
in plentifully to us and come & assist us so y' we had 
Even a Feast, o'' Sister & Family Din'*' in ye room 
w"' y*^ Company Sister M'^ & I sat at y*^" table w*'' y"' 
At evening o'' young people sang melodiously y*^ was 
very Gratefull to my Sister and company & I hope we 
are something endeared to her. She says twill hurt 
her to part w*^*^ us. 

9 my Sister & company left my house I accompany'' y"" 

beyond Westfield about a mile & when I took leave of 
her (I do think her affections were moV') she repeated 
her promise of coming & spending a long time w"' us 
if God spared y"^ lives 

19 This day my son John return'' from Allbany & gives 

acc'*^ he got on safely with his company he tells me y*^ 
his Aunt & Husband were well pleas''' with their visitt 
and went away cheerfull" 

"1741 July 26. Sunday I preach'^ at Sufifield in y*^ evening 

came a messenger to me [from] Westfield bringing me 
an acc"^ my Sister was come to Westf'* [from] Canada 

'The characters used by Mr. Williams for the names of his sister and her 
husband, for the words "from," "they" and others cannot be reproduced in 

-Parents of the renowned Jonathan Edwards. 

^Esther Williams Meacham. 



upon it I went to Capt Kellogue and got his son to go 
on to Westfield 8i I myself lodg"* at y^ captains 





Aug I 

" 2 
« ^3 


1 return^' home & Find my Sister & her Husband & 
two xdren here I am glad to see them & pray (rod to 

bless them I am in concern lest they take y** 

infection of ye measells. 

my Sister & Family seem Easy & I rejoice at it 

my brother w' ham & his son went over to Capt Kel- 
logue who has sent me an acct what their sentiments 
are I hope [they| maybe prevail'' with to come & 
tarry in ye country 

my sister & company are gone to Coventry y'' L'' be 
pleas''' to go w"' y'"' 

my xdren came home from M & C^ having been w"' 
their Aunt [Eunice] whom the>' left at m I praise Cod 
for his smiles respecting this journey 

Ye Sabbath 

Last n^ Br W W^ & cosen W came hither to see Sister 
E. I am glad to see them ye B W^ preached a very 
agreeable Sermon to us" 

'They were probably driven away by an epideitiic of measles and a "throat 
distemper," then prevalent in Longmeadow. 

'Mansfield and Coventry. 

^This was Tuesday. Eunice and her family were with her brother Eleazer 
at Mansfield. The day was- set apart for Prayer for the Revival of Religion. 
On behalf of Eunice, a sermon was preached there by her cousin, the Rev. Sol- 
omon Williams of Lebanon, Conn. 

^Warham Williams. 

'Brother Warham. 

"This was the usual Thursday lecture. Eunice being at Coventry lost it. 
They followed her to Coventry the next day. 


14 This day the^ set away to Coventry B"" H & 

E^ came hither & lodged here 

15 they went away to Coventry y'^ L'' be pleas''^ to Grant 
y*^ the meeting of so many Friends may be for y° bene- 
fit of y'"selves & of o"" Sister my wife is poorly of it 

16 ye Sabbath 

17 This day my Brethren and Sisters come here [from J 
Below the L** Grant o'' being together may be com- 
fortable & beneficiall 


18 My Br of m. preached a sermon 

Sept 3 This day I went to Westf'' to meet my Sister and Fam- 

ily who are upon y'' Return to Canada^ tis pleasant to 
See her but Grievous to part with her ye L^ mercifully 
overrule y'^ she may yet Return & dwell w''^ us Oh 
God thou hast y® hearts of all in thine hand & canst 
turn y'" as pleaseth thee &c the L** go w''' y™ & pre- 
serve y'" & be pleas'*^ to be w"^ & preserve my Son 
John who is gone w*^'' them to Albany. 

Sept 5 Oh God bless my poor Sister Eunice & graciously 

bring her & hers home to thy Self & preserve her on 
her journey & cause that she may long to return to us 
15 this day John return''' home in safety [from] Albany 

having had a difficult journey." 

The volume of the Diary from October, 1742, to March, 
1748, is missing, having been burned with the parsonage in 
1846. We have, therefore, no details of the visit said to have 
been made by Eunice in October, 1743. She arrived again 
in Longmeadow on June 30, 1761, accompanied by more of 

'Hinsdell and Elijah Williams. 

^Owing to the epidemic Eunice had not returned to Longmeadow. She 
spent but two days there. The rest of her visit was at Coventry and Mansfield. 



her family and Canadian friends. They encamped in the 
orchard behind the parsonage. 

1 761 June 30 This day my Sister Eunice, her Husband her daughter 
Katharine and others come hither from Canada. Y*^ 
L'' grant it may be in mercy to her y' she makes this 
visitt We have no interpreter and So can't say what 
her intentions and pretensions are. 
July 1 1 have been seeking for an interpreter — have sent to 
Deerfield. Thus I am in concern V" L'> be pleased 
to direct and bless me — Grant 1 may take prudent 
2 We attended y meeting before y'' Sacrament and after 
meeting people came in Great numbers to see my Sis- 
ter I am fearful that it may not be agreeable to be 
gazed upon I am sending hither and thither to my chil- 
dren & friends, & I pray God to bring them together 
that we may have a comfortable & profitable meeting. 
My cares increase I have an Interpreter come from 
Sunderland — sent by Sister Williams of Deerfield^ — 
but I fear he does not understand y*" Language very 
well — but I hope will be somewhat serviceable 
4 Sabbath & Sacrament My Daughters Eunice & Mar- 
tha are now here with me upon y'= joyful! sorrowfuU 
occasion of my poor Sister Eunice who is now with me 
— also her Husband, Katharine and her Husband-^ and 
a little son of Mary^ I beg God to Direct me what to 
do for my Sister, be pleased to incline & dispose her 
and her Husband to come into or comply with such 
measures as may have a proper tendency to promote 
her Spiritual & Eternal Good, & that of her family & 

'His step-sister Abigail, wife of Rev. and Col. Ebenezer Hinsdeli. 

^Frangois-Xavier Onosategen, "Grand Chef" of Caughnawaga. 

»This was Mary's only child, Thomas TehorakSannegen, then two years 
old. He became the father of Eleazer, the so-called Dauphin. 


6 My children John and his wife, Stephen with our In- 

terpreter M'' Dodge are come hither Our Company & 

Cares increase I had a sad Discourse with my 

Sister & her Husband and find they are not at all dis- 
pos'd to come & settle in y^ Country I am at a great 
loss to know what course to take what measures to go 


9 Hot, and we are fatigued & full of Company— at night 

my wife poorly 
lo This morning my poor sister and company left us I 

think I have used y*^ best arguments I could to per- 
suade her to tarry and to come and dwell with us but 
at present they have been ineffectual I must leave y*^ 
matter w"^ God— this I desire to do. N. B. Y^ when I 
took leave of my Sister and her daughter in the par- 
lour they both shed tears and seemed affected Oh 
that God w'' touch their hearts and encline them to 
turn to their Friends, and to embrace y« religion of 
Jesus Christ. "1 
In Stephen Williams's Diary, there is no record of any vis- 
it of Eunice to Deerfield. She came and went by way of 
Westfield, escorted back and forth from Albany, except on 
her last visit, by Stephen's son John. Her father died in 
Deerfield a year before her first visit to New England, and 
the surviving members of her family lived elsewhere. There 
was nothing to take her to Deerfield, except a natural desire 
to see the place of her birth. That she never forgot it is 
proved by the following : 




"On the 22"" of last month, our village was visited by two or 

'There seems to have been more constraint between Eunice and her N. E. 

relatives on this visit than on those preceding. Doubtless the presence of 

Katharine's husband, Onosategen, the great Chief, was a restraining influence. 


three families of Indians amounting in all to twenty-three of various 
ages calling themselves by the name of Williams on the ground of 
being descendants of Eunice The eldest of the party, a woman 
stating her age to be eighty years claimed to be the grand-daughter 
of Eunice adding that She perfectly remembered her grand- 
mother During their short stay, a little more than a week, 

they encamped in the vicinity of the village, employing their time 
not otherwise occupied, in making baskets. They visited the graves 
of their ancestors, Rev. Mr Williams and wife, and attended divine 
service on Sunday in an orderly and reverent manner. They refused 
to receive company on the Sabbath, and at all times, and in all re- 
spects seemed disposed to conduct themselves decently and inoffen- 
sively During their Stay with us, their encampment was 

frequented by great numbers of persons, almost denying them time 
to take their ordinary meals, but affording them as if to make amends 
for such inconvenience and privation, a ready sale for their fabrics.' 
On the first of September they decamped and commenced their 
homeward progress towards Canada." 

The visit of these Indians to Deerfield, seems to corrobo- 
rate the Longmeadow evidence of Eunice's love for New 
England. The possibility that the old squaw was a grand- 
daughter of Eunice is refuted, however, by what we now 
know of her posterity, Thomas Tehorakwaneken being her 
only grandchild. This old woman may have been one of 
Catharine's adopted daughters, — or one of the children of 
Louis Satagaienton, the husband of Eunice's daughter Mary, 
— by his second marriage. 



On his return from captivity. Rev. John Williams did not 

'Several of these baskets are still extant in Deerfield. 


go back immediately to Deerfield, being naturally doubtful 
whether to settle there again. By the advice of the Elders 
in Boston, he yielded at last to Mr. Sheldon's entreaties in 
behalf of the Deerfield people and decided to cast in his lot 
with them. While in Boston he was the recipient of much 
kind attention. 

His eldest son Eleazer, being away at school, had escaped 
the calamity at Deerfield and "by the help of divers charita- 
ble people especially in Boston," entered Harvard College in 
1705, and was a Freshman thereat the time of his father's re- 
turn; and "living in the chamber over me," says Thomas 
Prince, then a Sophomore, "I fell into an intimate acquaint- 
ance with him." Just a week after his arrival,^ Mr. Williams 
delivered the Thursday lecture in Boston, and the two lads 
walked in from Cambridge together by way of Brighton, 
seven miles, if we may credit the ancient milestone still 
standing in Cambridge, to hear the lecture: "I, with many 
others went down," says Prince, "and in an auditory exceed- 
ingly crowded and affected, I heard the sermon." 

On the 7th Samuel Sewall "invited the Governor to dine 
at Holmes's";^ Mr. Williams and Mr. Sheldon were amongf the 
guests. Mr. Williams's sermon and the Deerfield captivities 
made a profound impression on Thomas Prince. In 1757 he 

"From the instance of this one town only, we may learn what 
number of the present people in Canada are the children of this 
province, or descended from them — which in case the sovereign 
GOD should ever lead a victorious army of ours into Canada, will 
clearly justify us to the world, if we should bring every child and 
descendant of New England, yea, of all the British Colonies, away." 
^Prince says he arrived Dec. 6. Sewall says Dec. 5. 

^Sevvall's Diary. Vol. II. p. 173. In connection with this dinner party, 
the following from Sewall's Diary, Vol. II, p. 165, is interesting: "Friday, Aug. 

16, 1706 , " the Gov'' and Council sent for me, I went though I had a 

cold; spake that a suit of cloaths might be made here for IVIr. Williams. 




Among- other very rare books in the library of the "Po- 
cumtuck Valley Memorial Association," at Deerfield, (a mon- 
ument to the devotion and labor of the Hon. George Shel- 
don,) is one entitled in part, "Good Fetched out of Evil, in 
three Short Essays." 

No perfect copy of this book is known ; that at Deerfield 
is perhaps the most perfect. With other treasures, it con- 
tains the following poem written by Mary French, daughter 
of Dea. Thomas French : 

"The Singular Circumstances of the httle Authoress, will make 
Atonement for it, if we now add a Poem, Written by a Captive 
Damsel, about Sixteen or Seventeen years of Age; who being afraid 
that her Younger Sister, at a Distance from her would be led away 
by the Popish Delusions, addressed her in these Lines : " 

Dear Sister, JESUS does you call 

To Walk on in His Ways. 
I pray, make no Delay at all, 

Now in your Youthful Dayes. 

O Turn to Him, who has you made. 

While in your Tender years: 
For as the Withering Grass we fade, 

which never more appears. 

But if that God should you afford 

a longer Life to Live, 
Remember that unto the Lord 

the Praises you do give. 

We still are called to Begin 

while we are in our Youth. 
For to depart from ways of Sin, 

and Serve the Lord in Truth. 

Tis not To Mo7-row, Christ doth Say 

that we shall Mercy find; 
Oh, then while it is call'd. To Day, 

your Great Creator Mind. 


We are not ceriain in this World 

We have an Hour to Spend; 
But suddenly we may be hurl'd 

where time shall have an End. 

How soon may this sad News be told, 

we no Assurance have; 
In Winding Sheets our Corpse be roU'd 

and we laid in the Grave. 

But still our Souls must Live for aye 

in Endless Bliss or Wo, 
If Unprepared at the Day, 

we down to Hell do go. 

The Officer, as Christ hath said. 

Shall us in Prison bind, 
Until the last Farthing be paid, 

we there must be Confin'd. 

Since we so oft of this do hear, 

Our Teachers have us told. 
We shall without excuse appear. 

If we to Sin are bold. 

To dare the pow'r of Hell and Death! 

yea, and of God most High! 
Oh! Let us, while we have our Breath 

Prostrate before Him ly. 

And let us Wisdom now desire 

before our glass is run; 
For Understanding Let's Enquire 

while Shining is our Sun. 

All Wisdoms ways are Pleasantness. 

and all its Pathes are Peace. 
Those that Gods Throne aright address. 

their Joy shall never Cease. 

Set not your Heart on fading Toyes, 
but still Gods Grace implore; 

At His Right Hand are Endless Joyes 
and Pleasures ever more. 

That Earthly Things are fading flow'rs 

We by Experience see; 
And of our Years and Days and Hours 

we as uncertain be. 

Of all Degrees, and Every Age, 

among the Dead we find; 
Many there fell by bloody rage. 

When we were left behind. 



Let us be Silent then this day 

under our Smarting Rod. 
Let us with Patience Meekly say, 

// is the Will of God. 

Of Friends and Parents, wee're bereav'd, 

Distress't, and Left alone; 
Lord, We thy Spirit oft have griev'd; 

And now as Doves we moan. 

For any Worthiness of ours 

No mercy ask we can; 
But still God hath laid Helps and Pow'rs 

upon the Son of Man. 

Now when the Sabbath doth begin 

with sorrow we do say, 
Ohl That zve were God's House within. 

To Keep His Holy Day! 

For God hath in His Anger hot 

Out of His Sanctuary 
Us banished far, that we hear not 

its Pleasant Melody. 

The Temple Songs from us are gone, 

to Sighs they turned be; 
Ensnar'd we are, and there is none 

on Earth to set us free. 

It is the mighty Hand of God 

from which no man can fly. 
Wee're under both His grevious Rod 

and His all-seeing Eye. 

Dear Sister, for your sake now I 

these Verses Written have. 
Bear them upon your Memor)% 

as going to the Grave. 

Dear Sister, Bear me in your Mind; 

Learn these few Lines by heart; 
Alas, an aking Heart I find, 

Since we're so long to part. 

But to the Care of God on high 

Our cause we will commend, 
For your Soul-sake these Lines now I 

Your Loving Sister send. 


December 23, 1703. [5 ?J 




This copy of the baptismal record of Thankful Stebbins 
is given as a good example of the old-time records in Cana- 
dian parishes : 

^'Ce 23 dauvrile de lannce 1707 ic ccrtifie f picrrc diiblaron 
faisans les fonctions dedans la paroiffe de chambly avoire fupplees 
aux cereinonie diifacremensde baptefvie a loiiife tliereffc ftebene 
angloiffe de nation et baptisce en angletcrrc. fon parrain et fa 
marine ont cfte mre hertelle de cJianibly et made de perygny com- 
mandant e du fort de chambly en foy de quoy jay figner." 


In footnote, page 133, for "fourth" read fifth. 

Page 393, for "a year before," read eleven years before. 

Page 393, for "Taylor," read Fessenden. 



Names of Captives. 

Adams, James, 47-9, 178 9, 1S7. 
Allen, Edward, 270. 
Arms, John, 241, 317, 325, 358-64. 
Austin, Mary, 51. 

Baker, Christine, (see Otis). 
Thomas, 25-9, 32-4, 148, 15: 
180, 240, 244, 367. 
Bartlett, Joseph, 203, 322-5. 
Becraft, Marie Elizabeth, (see Hurst). 
Belding, Hepzibah, (see Wells). 
Bradley, Wife of Joseph, 47, 185. 

D , ( Mary, > 

Brooks, i TV, i ,^, . }■ igo, 205. 
( Mane Claire, ) ^ 

Nathaniel, 270. 

Carter, John, 150. 
Casse, (see Corse). 
Catlin, Mary, (Baldwin), 195, 277, 282, 
Mary, (see French). 
Chapin, Hannah, (see Sheldon). 
Chub, Jabez, 342. 
Clesson, Joseph, 241, 317. 
Corse, Elizabeth, 204-6, 209, 262. 

Daveluy, Marie Fran5oise, (see 

Davids, Saras, 342. 

Davis, Mary Anne, 57. 

De I'Estage, Marie, Joseph, (see Say- 

Denio, James, (see De Noyon, Jacques). 

Denkyn, Catharine, 207. 

De Noyon, Jacques, 206-8, 211, 213, 
215-21, 259-60, 263, 276, 

Dickinson, Obadiah, 124. 

Dumontel, Elizabeth, (see Corse). 

Il^astman, Amos, 340. 



( Matthew, 

lude, ) 

( Mathias Clai 
47, 262. 
Fletcher, Pendleton, 49. 
Foote, Mary, 123, 125. 
Fortner, Joseph, 341. 
Fourneau, Marie Elizabeth, (see Price). 
Freeman, Samuel, 341. 



French, Abigail, 131, 203, 279,283, 299. 

j Freedom, | ^^^^^ ^62, 

( Mane Fran§oise, ) 

John, 203, 279-80, 282. 
( Martha, ) 

I Marthe Marguerite, ) 

6, 3S3-4, 290. 
Mary, (Catlin), 203, 277. 279-82. 
Mary, 203, 283, 396, 398. 
Thomas, (Deacon), 131, 203, 275, 

277-84, 299, 302. 
Thomas, Jr., 203, 242, 283. 

/^ errish, Sarah, 19. 

V_T^ Gillette, (see Step-children of 

Stephen Jennings). 
Oilman, Jacob, 203. 
Gradey, Berney, 341. 
Grizalem (see Warren). 

Hancock, Oner. 340. 
Harmon, Johnson, 140, 359-60, 
364-6, 368, 370, 379. 
Hatfield, Captives, no, 117, 120, 122, 

124-6, 232. 
Hill, Abiah, 49. 

Ebenezer, 48-9. 

Brother Joseph's daughter, 49. 
Samuel, 48-9, 178-80, 183. 
Hinkley, Edouard, 340. 
Hinsdale, Mehuman, 235-6, 241, 275. 
Hoit, (see Hoyt). 
Homes, Anna, 343. 

Hoyt, David, (Deacon and Lieutenant), 
274, 277, 281, 283. 
Jonathan, 184, 307. 
Sarah, 152-3, 236. 
Huggins, Margaret, 195, 199, 200. 


Hull, Elizabeth, 235. 

Ebenezer, } 

Antoine Nicolas, j '•^' 

j Elizabeth, } 

I Marie Elizabeth, f ^°'-3' ^SO. 

j Hannah, } 

{ Kaiennoni, f 

j Sarah (Jeffries) | 
] Marie Jeanne f 2°^-3' ^So-i. 

Sarah, 201-3, 251. 

Thomas, 201-3, 244, 251, 262. 

201-3, 244, 251, 


ngersol, Esther, (see Jones). 

Jeffries, Sarah, (see Hurst). 
Jenkins, Phillipps, 342. 
Jennings, Captivity, 126. 

Wife of Stephen, 121, 123, 266. 
(Gillette) Step-children of Steph- 
en, 121. 
Jeryan, Dorothee, (see Jordan). 
Jones, Esther, 195, 199-201. 
Jordan, Dorothee, 57. 

Kellogg, Joseph, 387-8, 390. 
Martin, 25, 148, 152, 180, 
240-1, 244, 274. 


e Beau, Christine, (see Otis). 

Littlefield, ■! D?*"""' . . ^262. 

/ Fierre Augustin, J 

Josiah, 51. 367. 

Lumbart, Samuel, 340. 



Mackerty, Thimoty, 341. 
Maddox, Daniel Joseph, 202- 

3, 339. 342. 
Marie des Anges, (see Mary Say ward). 
Marten, John, 343. 
Menard, Marthe Marguerite, (see 

Mitchell, Salomon, 341. 

. 347-8, 351-3. 

Monet, Elizabeth, (see Corse). 


eal, Thomas, 342. 

XT. i Abigail 

Nims, -j '^ 

85, 235-41, 

Marie Eli?.abelh, 
243-9, 253, 255. 
Ebenezer, 153, 235, 243. 
Ebenezer, Jr., 152-3. 
Wife of Godfrey, 235. 
John. 133, 148, 180, 234-5, 240-3. 
Sarah, (see Hoyt). 
Noble, Abigail, 341, 343-4. 
Benjamin, 344. 
Elinor, 355. 
Frances, 344. 
John, 343. 
Joseph, 344. 
Lazarus, 342. 
Marie, 343, 
Matthew, 344. 
Children, 347, 351-3. 



j Margaret, 

rgaret, ) 
/ Christine, \ »9- 23-34. 132, 

152-3, 207, 262, 333-5. 

( Grizel, / , ,„ 

» AT • M J I • r (see War- 

I Mane Madeleine, ) ^ 


Parsons, Hannah, 207. 
Petty, Joseph, 148, 180, 240. 
Plaisted, Mary, 77-82, 367. 
Plimpton, Sergeant John, 104, io8-g, 
113, 118, 124 5. 

^arie Elizabeth, f 
276, 281. 

■-'"' \ Ma, 

206-7, 262, 



uaenbouts, Rachel, } 
Quackinbush, f ^'^ ' 

aizenne, Ignace, (see Rising). 

Rishworth, Mary, (see Plaisted). 

Susannah, 77. 

r, ■ • ( losiah, / , 

^'^'"8^- (Ignace,} 226-7,235-41.243- 

4, 246-9, 253, 255-6. 
Robitaille, Marie Madeleine, (see War- 
Roi, Marthe Marguerite, (see French). 
Ross, John, 343. 

William, 343. 
Russell, Samuel, no, 119, 123, 125. 


1 ayer, (see Sayward). 


c . \ Esther, ) 

bayward, 1 n/r • i ■ r 24, 

■' ' ( Mane, Joseph, J ^' 

79-82, 84-7, 207, 379. 
i Mary, ) 

< Marie Genevieve, > 49, 77, 79- 
( Marie des Anges, ) 

85, 87, 237, 239-40, 244, 
246, 253, 379. 
Schinner, Elizabeth, 341. 
c , / Elisha, / 
^^^'^^' \ Michel, \ '95. 199. 200. 

Sheldon, Ebenezer, 168, 188, 240. 



Sheldon, Hannah, (Chapin), 48-9, 168, 
178, 180-1, 206, 276, 281. 

Mary, 48, 168, 178, 187. 

Remembrance, 48, 168, 178, 188, 

Sil---| AdeYaidej 32i. 323. 325-9- 

Stannard, Thomas, 340 
Starkes, Jean, 341. 
Staats, Barent, 358. 

(Abigail, ) 

Stebbins, -j Gabrielle, V 53, 206-8, 211, 
( Marguerite, ) 

217-21, 259-60, 262, 267, 
270, 276, 281. 
Benoni, 109, 114-17, 161-2, 167, 
229-33. 235, 274-5, 278-9, 
281, 283. 
Dorothy, (Alexander), 207-8, 219, 
259, 263, 274. 


John, 207-8, 219-20, 259, 263, 

John, Jr., 207, 219-21. 
Joseph, 207, 220-1, 268. 
Samuel, 207, 220-1, 260. 
j Thankful, ) , ,^ 

i J . rrw • t 207, 2ig- 

( Louise Iherese, ) ' ^ 

20, 261-3, 267-71, 399. 
Stevens, Elizabeth, (see Price). 

Capt. Phineas, 335-40, 342, 344- 
6, 348. 356- 
Stockvvell, Quentin, 109-15, 117, 119- 

21, 124-5, 130, 231, 266, 
273, 277. 

Storer 251. 

Mary, 48-9,51. 
j Priscilla, ) 

I Marie Priscille, J" '■*'• 
Rachel, 51. 

Tf^ { Charles, ) .^ 

rafton, ■< , • nV ■ f 262. 
/ Louis Mane, ) 

Turbot, Abigail, 200-1. 


an Schauck Anthony, 353. 

aite, Benjamin's Wife, 113, 124, 


Canada, 126. 

Air \ Grizel, ) ,„ „^ . 

Warren, j Marie Madeleine. \ ^9- 23-4. 

27-8, 30-1, 132, 201, 262, 

Webb, Seth, 340, 344. 
Wells, Hepzibah, (Belding) 172, 177. 
r Esther, 1 

, . , S'' Esther Marie 

Wheelwright, ^ j^^^^^ de I'Enfant f 

Qesus, J 

45, 48-68, 335-6, 355, 379. 

( Whitney, Solomon I o , , 
■j Whiltenor Whidden \ ^■^^^■ 

j Whitney, Timothy, } ^ . , 
] Whitton, ' P"*"^- 

Williams, Esther, iSo, 386, 389. 

EuTiice, [Mather) 130, 196, 279- 

80, 386, 394. 

1 Eunice, ) 

A Marguerite, > 25, 56, 

( Marguerite 8aon'got, ) 

130-1, 133-49. 151-4. 252, 
359, 362, 366, 372-4, 376, 
379-84. 386-94- 
Rev. John, 130, 134-7. I43. '47- 
8, 150-2, 162, 167, 171, 176- 

81, 184-9, 191. 193. 19(1-8, 
200, 206, 218, 234, 242, 244, 
265-6, 273-4, 279-80, 307, 
320, 333, 362,366,371,373, 
386, 394-5. 



Williams, Samuel, 53, 188, 195-8,200-1, 
207, 242-3, 252, 386. 
Stephen, 176, 180, 184, 266, 386- 

Warham, 18S, 386, 390. 
Zebediah, 133, 234-5, 3o6- 

Wright, Judah, 179. 

~\7^ork, Samuel, 2i5-i(